Being Pregnant in Cancun, Mexico

**Disclaimer: This is in no way meant to be a comparison between a pregnancy in the US vs a pregnancy in Mexico, unless specifically stated otherwise. I have never been pregnant in the US except for 1 week at Disney World, so I can only refer to my experiences here in Cancun and occasionally what I have heard from moms in the US.**

So now I am 7 months along! We’ve been lovingly referring to our little guy as “El Bebé”, and he’s a strong one so far. I’ve been blessed to have very few complications and hardly any symptoms. Some back pain has started to kick in a little, the heat in Cancun keeps me from being too active in the middle of the day, and El Bebé is kicking pretty hard sometimes, but beyond that I feel pretty awesome.

Overall pregnancy in Mexico has been a wonderful experience. People here really love babies, and Jorge and I both come from happy and loving families. We are so lucky.

I often get asked about what pregnancy and related healthcare is like here in Mexico, so here is my experience so far in Cancun:

1. People worry about my well-being

Ever since I started showing, everyone around me is constantly making sure I don’t over-extend myself. Friends will tell me to stop running if I rush to cross a street, and strangers are quick to pick stuff up when I drop something (which happens a lot). At first this was difficult because I’m a pretty independent person and I have been feeling really great this whole pregnancy, but now that the 3rd trimester has begun I am so grateful!

2. Everyone loves pregnant ladies

Strangers smile at me A LOT. It’s so lovely. I wish we could all be like this to everybody, all the time. I need to work on that, myself.

3. So much belly touching!

Confession: I am a belly toucher. Pregnant bellies have always been the coolest thing for me, and I love to touch the bellies of my pregnant friends and family. My family isn’t very touchy-feely, so I make sure to ask permission first. My social circle in Cancun is a little different. The amount of belly rubbing has been insane, and I hear it’s considered good luck. Many also believe that if someone wants to touch your belly, they absolutely should… resisting the urge or not being allowed to do so sends some kind of bad vibes to the baby, or so I’m told. In theory the belly touching is fine for me because I totally share that impulse, but for the first month or two after we announced I admit that things were tough. It doesn’t SEEM like it would be a private area, but I realized that nobody but Jorge ever touches me there normally. It was so strange to have so many people touching me in a place I had never been touched before, especially men. If I went to a social gathering, I could have up to 10 people touching my belly within a short period of time. Some people would keep their hand there for a good 30 seconds, some people would talk to it… Once I got used to it, it was wonderful. Now I love that friends and family show how excited they are about this little guy! But it took a few weeks to get used to it, for sure.

4. Strangers are pretty hands-off

Pregnant women back in the US often complain about strangers (usually older women, it seems) who approach them in the grocery store or the mall to touch their belly, ask questions, or sometimes to even say something mean. That has not happened to me in Cancun. I had one stranger touch my belly briefly last week, and that’s it. Last week we were at a Cancun resort on a day pass, and the other guests were mostly from the US. I was surprised by how many American strangers stopped me to ask questions (Boy or girl? How many months? etc) because Cancun locals don’t really do that with strangers at all.

5. More attention from men

When out in public, there are more men checking me out than usual. I also get more honks, headlight flashes and whistles. (Nobody has directly hit on me, though.) It’s nice to know I’ve still got it, I guess, but it definitely weirds me out. It’s always uncomfortable and sometimes scary for women to be looked at in public, but even more difficult when you’re “knocked up”.

6. Guessing the gender

This was the hardest part for me, and from what I hear, I think it happens pretty much everywhere. When you’re not pregnant, people usually don’t comment too much on your body. As soon as you get pregnant, people seem to think it’s open season to say whatever they like. When I was around 4 – 5 months and we didn’t know the gender yet, lots of people would try to guess the gender based on old wives’ tales about the shape of the belly. It sounds innocent enough, but when you have people looking you up and down every day for weeks and making comments on the size and width of different parts of your body, it feels like a violation of some kind. Of course these people have nice enough intentions, but it’s hard to have your body stared at and analyzed to your face. I urge everyone to please be careful about your comments. Many women don’t mind at all, but I have talked to many pregnant women and most of them don’t like being told things like, “It must be twins! Are you sure it’s just one in there? Maybe your ultrasounds missed the other one.” “You’re huge!” “Your butt is flat, it must be a girl!” “You don’t look pregnant yet, just fat!” “You’re too skinny! Are you sure the baby is healthy?” “Your belly is so wide! Your ultrasound is wrong… it can’t be a boy, it has to be a girl.” Etc etc. (Yes, these are actual things people say to pregnant women on a regular basis.) The body goes through a lot of scary and unknown changes during pregnancy and that makes many women feel insecure. My advice: If you want to comment on a pregnant woman’s body, just tell her she looks great.

7. Private health care

I am fortunate enough to have a private health care plan through my employer. Health care in Mexico is pretty great, at least in urban areas like Cancun, and I have several wonderful hospitals to choose from. There are plenty of excellent ob/gyns as well. Private health care in Mexico is only a fraction of what it costs in the States, and the quality is stellar if you know where to go. My ob/gyn charges $600 pesos (roughly $40 USD) for my appointments, and that includes a pretty high-tech ultrasound. Also, they looooove to give you ultrasounds here! My pregnant friends in the US say they get maybe 3 – 4 ultrasounds throughout their pregnancy. I have already had about 10! The downside to private health care in Mexico is that they have a reputation of pushing mothers into unnecessary c-sections. This is so they can have a more predictable schedule and charge you more money, from what I hear. I have read a few articles that show 70 – 80% of births in Mexico are via c-section!

8. Public health care and maternity leave

The free public health care system in Mexico is called IMSS. If you have a steady job here, you probably have access to IMSS, even if you are a foreigner. IMSS pays for maternity leave, which is 42 days before the due date and 42 days after the baby is born. Not bad! The only catch is you have to go to 5 pre-natal appointments at IMSS, I guess so they can make sure you’re really pregnant. These appointments were superfluous for me because I’m already going through private health care, but I have to admit I was impressed with IMSS. Government services in Mexico have a reputation for being disorganized and crowded, but my experience was great. I never had to wait more than 15 minutes for an appointment, and everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. I even got some free vaccinations! To be fair, the IMSS location where I’ve been assigned is less crowded than most, and I’m able to schedule appointments in the morning when there are less people. I will not be having the baby at IMSS, but many friends have. The downside is that they don’t usually admit you until you are about to start pushing (they encourage you to do most labor at home until it’s almost time, otherwise you will just have to endure it in the waiting room), and they also don’t let anybody be in the room with you… not even the father! And visiting hours are very strict. On the plus side, the medical care is good, they don’t push you to have an unnecessary c-section, and it’s FREE!

9. Going out

Jorge and I are very social people, so on weekends we’re always out on the town. This hasn’t changed much with my pregnancy. I take El Bebé out to the beach, bars (no drinking, though), the mall, the pool, casual get-togethers… pretty much anywhere I would normally go. The only limitation is that I try to avoid crowds. After going to Disney World on the busiest day of the year (New Year’s Eve), I realized just how scary crowds can be when you have a pregnant belly sticking out. Cancun isn’t too crowded of a place, and so far I’ve only had to turn down invitations to nightclubs like Coco Bongo. I know many pregnant women go to nightclubs, which is great, but Cancun nightclubs are wall-to-wall packed, so it doesn’t seem like the best idea here. There don’t seem to be many other pregnant women out and about in Cancun, except maybe at the mall. I’m not sure if there just aren’t many, or if they prefer not to leave the house much, or if they’re just avoiding the ridiculous heat! But so far nobody has gotten on my case for going out, and I don’t get weird looks at bars.

10. Advice

From stories I’ve heard from other pregnant women (in Mexico and the US), I was expecting lots of people to be pushing me to do or not do certain things. I’ve heard people can be pushy when it comes to babies! But no. So far I have gotten stories from other people’s experiences and the occasional tidbit of advice, but nobody has been pushy in the least. Everyone has been open-minded about letting Jorge and me do things the way we think is best.

11. My Mexican husband

Of course I can’t speak for all Mexican husbands, but mine has been amazing. Jorge helps me get up from the couch, he goes to all my doctor appointments, he talks to El Bebé every day, he puts up with the extremely cold air conditioning I want every night, and he has even gone out late at night on several occasions to buy me ice cream. He pretty much does whatever I need/want, and it has been a huge help. I try not to take too much advantage of his kindness!

I’m not sure how my experience in Cancun, Mexico compares to the USA or even other parts of Mexico, but that has been my pregnancy so far. I have been overwhelmed by the love shown to our little family by all of our friends and family. Everyone has been so wonderful and helpful, and El Bebé is seriously lucky to have such a great life filled with love in store for him! We can’t wait to meet him and share him with everybody.

To all the moms reading this: I’d love to hear how different or similar your pregnancy experiences have been where you live!

15 thoughts on “Being Pregnant in Cancun, Mexico

  1. OMG! I never comment because I’m lazy but I just had to: You look SO beautiful pregnant! OMG congratulations! You look amazing. I know it sounds crazy but you look even more beautiful, your hair is so long and healthy as well. Congratulations! I recently visited Cancun in january for the first time. I basically read almost your entire blog last year before I went there lol!

  2. First, you look fantastic, Laura! Pregnancy does you well! Let’s see…to compare my pregnancies. In Panama with our first daughter, I got whistles and looks from men allllll the time. That was weird. We loved the medical we received and without insurance only paid $4,400 USD for a 5 day stay due to c-section. People were always helpful and I automatically was pushed to the front of the line during pregnancy and after with baby. In US, we will pay about $7,000 out of pocket after insurance kicks in its little bit. That completely stinks. People were always willing to help but I think being back in the US made me feel like I had to act tougher. The biggest difference I’ve noticed being my two different experiences is how after delivery, people think I’m crazy for taking a newborn out in the US. In panama, it was perfectly acceptable to go grocery shopping with a 2 week old.

    Sorry for the novel, but I think the comparisons are good bc people are quick to think the US experience is always better. Neither is better than the other. Just different.

    • I love that… to be honest, I was totally expecting this whole thing to be more difficult in Mexico than in the USA. (It’s like I have learned nothing after 10 years here haha)

      But you’re right! The “first world country” experience is not necessarily better by any means.

  3. This babe is so lucky to have the two of you as parents. Can’t wait till he gets here so we can see the pictures of the sweet El Babe. And if you have any doubt, I don’t think you do, but pregnancy really looks good on you. Are y’all planning to have more than one. Ha, I wounded what your 4 legged babies are going to think. Have a great day and stay cool.

    • The 4-legged kids do not seem excited at all. They have been acting weirder than normal and I’m sure they know something big is happening, but they’re more freaked out than excited haha.

  4. That pretty much sums it up! haha Nice post!

    Can’t wait to hear about the people telling you your baby is cold/going to get sick because you don’t have him wrapped up in a wool blanket in Walmart. 😀 Or because it’s windy and he isn’t wearing a hat when it’s 90 degrees outside!

    • Hahahaha well people haven’t been too pushy with the pregnancy, so I’m *hoping* they’ll respect the fact that this baby will be naked most of the time. 🙂 I think our friends and family here know we just do what we want, so they won’t bother. But maybe that’s wishful thinking…

  5. You look wonderful! Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s very interesting. I have had 3 kids in the US, and after insurance we paid about $3000 for each birth. I had to fight more each time against C-sections, with the third one being an all-out yelling at each other during labor fight at times. I have worked as a doula (birth support/assistant) and strongly recommend parents know their options (here you can say no but most people don’t realize it and just go along.) The more you know the more control you will have over your birth experience-70% C-section rate is just crazy!

    I’m curious, do you know if many people use cloth diapers there? I used them with all 3 of my girls.

  6. Well again Congratulations and thank God Jorge hasn’t let me down. We just had our bay in December 27 and is so adorable i am pretty sure yours will be too. Good luck and hope everything goes as planned and you go full term. Thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

  7. Hi laura,again you look gorgeous! I think, it is a diference, from the states ,and from my personal experience,my first daugter born in florida, and i had the most amazing pregnancy and a natural great labor ,even it was from the health distric,and my 2nd daughter was a little diferent even it was a private hospital ,but and mexico that i remember with my sister experience, she was in a private hospital en monterrey,mx,she had complications but it was her body that she can delivery in a normal way,anyhow ,is of to the baby that decide to born on the rigth positon etc,that way he would born perfectly ok,keep the prayers begin and everthing is gona be just fine,and about the touching the belly a lot in mexico i think is a culture think o lets call the “old fashion tradition” to show you and to the baby a lots of love but if somebody trying to show way to much love ,well ,dont be shy to tell them what it is ,i just be honest cause im mexican and i know how it is,i admire you so much cause the same way iam and a diferent country and sometimes is not easy to adopt to another place,and diferwnt culture ,you looks so happy and cancun with your mexican family so i wish you guys the best of the best and a lot love! Xoxox

  8. Very interesting experiences comparing the two! I have to wonder if there’s a reason for the differences for how people handle a pregnant person? Either way, good to see you’re looking healthy and happy!

  9. I’m so happy for you guys and it sounds like you’ve had a really good smooth pregnancy so far. Only 2 months to go? Wow. Can’t wait until your little family of 2 becomes 3! 😀

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