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

itoggle caption Ofeibea Quist-Arcton/NPR

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

itoggle caption Julie McCarthy/NPR

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

itoggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

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

itoggle caption Anthony Cassidy/Getty Images

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

itoggle caption Joanne Silberner for NPR

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

itoggle caption Holly Pickett for NPR

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

itoggle caption Olivier Pascaud for NPR

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

itoggle caption Andrea Hsu/NPR

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

itoggle caption Photo Researchers

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. iStockphoto.com 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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