Friday, May 22, 2009

Prenatal Trends in Korea

Expectant mothers stretch their arms before a ballet class at D Qube Dance Gallery, located in Sinsa-dong , southern Seoul. [JoongAng Ilbo]

Knitting, listening to Mozart and reading fairy tales are so yesterday for expectant mothers.

With an increasing number of moms-to-be seeking novel approaches to prenatal education, a host of new programs has surfaced.

Most recently, the National Palace Museum of Korea launched an eight-week program called “Royal Prenatal Education: Raise your baby in a royal way.”

During the eight-week program, which started April 16, mothers make baby journals and benet jeogori (the traditional first coat worn by a newborn baby) using traditional methods. The origin of benet jeogori dates back to King Jeongjo (1752-1800).

“Instead of luxurious silk, our ancestors used cotton, which has no color or pattern, to make the coat, hoping for their babies to learn modesty,” Kim Eun-young, an instructor who gave a brief presentation of the class, told attendees during one of the classes.

Some expectant mothers are also taking ballet classes.

One dance company says that stretching movements associated with ballet help expectant mothers to relax.

On one weekday last month, a dozen mothers were stretching their arms and legs as classical music played in the background.

“I chose a ballet class because I thought ‘this is something new,’” said Kim Ju-yeon, a worker who was 21 weeks pregnant at the time.

“I’m very satisfied with my decision. I used to wake up in the middle of the night because of pregnancy cramps, but I sleep well these days since I started regularly working out and learning abdominal breathing from this class.”

“Baby EQ” Provided by Universal Music Korea

One company - Universal Music Korea - even capitalizes on the needs of mothers who are fed up with Mozart. Its “Baby EQ” CD essentially features renditions of well-known pop songs using instruments that emit high-frequency sounds.

The instruments include bells, glockenspiels and celesta.

The songs include hits from artists such as Madonna, Elton John, Sting and U2.

The company claims the high-frequency sounds help calm babies, said Lim Hang-min, an official of Universal Music Korea.

The CD is available at music stores, and more artists such as Stevie Wonder and Phil Collins will be added in the near future.

Some women, instead of, say, knitting, are opting to spend their free time making Blabla dolls.

The marketplaces sell do-it-yourself kits for making the doll.

Blabla dolls are all out of proportion.

They are taller and more colorful than traditional dolls, and the arms are longer.

Many mothers who make Blabla dolls believe that needlework is good for enhancing the intelligence of their unborn babies.

From Joong Ang Daily