Lightening the mood, the otherwise serious health care proceedings are punctuated by song and dance. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton/NPR hide caption

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Khasrat and Qadar Gul struggle to reconcile their cleric's teachings against contraception with husband Qadar's desire not to father more children. "We are poor and cannot afford a bigger family," Qadar Gul says. Julie McCarthy/NPR hide caption

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Adam Graham (from left to right), Tanae Foglia, Kelly Hruska, Stacey Ferguson, Corie Driscoll, Angela Tilghman and Sharon Johnson participate in a round-table discussion about parenting hosted by Michele Norris at NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

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Stacey Ferguson, Corie Driscoll and Angela Tilghman participate in a round table discussion about parenting hosted by Michele Norris at NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

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A young child wrapped in an aguayo, a traditional sling, on mother's back in La Paz, Bolivia. Anthony Cassidy/Getty Images hide caption

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Dorothy Mwesiga with her third child. Mwesiga was treated with antidepressant drugs and talk therapy for her postpartum depression. Joanne Silberner for NPR hide caption

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Israa Saad Diab lifts the cover from her son Hamza's face, while her husband, Ibrahim Muhammad, watches, after the traditional Sebou ceremony in Mansoura, Egypt, on May 27. Holly Pickett for NPR hide caption

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Alison MacAdam with her son, Abe, about eight months after she put this mix to use. Courtesy of the MacAdam family hide caption

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Culture And Traditions

Songs For The Delivery Room: One Woman's Playlist

Given the chance to make a soundtrack for one of life's most profound moments, a beat was a must.

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Dr. Sandrine Courtial examines 3.5-month-old Ayline Alhas at the Centre de Protection Maternelle et Infantile (PMI) in Savigny-sur-Orge, France, before giving her a vaccination. Ayline's mother, Melissa, has been bringing her in for free well-child check-ups since her birth. Olivier Pascaud for NPR hide caption

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Zac and Penny Johnson's son Henry is 4, but they still have his hospital blanket in a box with other keepsakes. Zac remembers bringing one of these blankets home to their dog Daisy to smell, in anticipation of Henry's homecoming. Andrea Hsu/NPR hide caption

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Last week, NPR asked for photos of newborns with the pink-and-blue-striped flannel blanket. We received close to 2,000 photos, from almost every state in the U.S. NPR hide caption

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New parents Wu Lili (left) and Mo Shiwei hold their 29-day-old baby boy. The new mom is staying at the Weige center in Beijing, which provides luxury accommodation and 24-hour nursing staff to woman who are participating in the Chinese tradition of "sitting the month." Andrea Hsu/NPR hide caption

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A rendering of a 36-week fetus in the womb. Photo Researchers hide caption

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Many cases once thought to be sudden infant death syndrome are now believed to be accidents caused by unsafe sleep practices. The image above shows a crib with a teddy bear and bumper — items the American Academy of Pediatrics warns against putting in your baby's crib. hide caption

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Midwife Ana Luisa Ralston talks with Rosa Lainez (right) and Andrea Lopez about issues related to their upcoming deliveries during the Group Prenatal Care class at the Upper Cardozo Health Center in Washington. Here, Ralston demonstrates a position to assume during labor. Coburn Dukehart/NPR hide caption

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Surgical fellow Pablo Laje (left) and Dr. Scott Adzick finish prenatal surgery on Sarah White. Her fetus has spina bifida — a hole in the lower back that exposes the spinal cord. Jane Greenhalgh/NPR hide caption

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