Adat Melenggang Perut, to bless the mother and the unborn baby

Adat Melenggang Perut or Kirim Perut is a rite of passage in the Malay community that takes place during the 7th month of pregnancy to estimate the baby’s gender, and to bless the mother and the unborn baby, keeping them safe from danger.

This ceremony would be performed by a midwife and requires 7 pieces of batik cloth of various colours (used to cover the stomach area), one medium-sized coconut, a cup of white rice, a plate of nasi kunyit, a knife or a spoon and various other things depending on the midwife’s needs.

During the process, the midwife will massage the pregnant woman’s stomach with coconut oil to correct the foetus’ position. She will then pray (selawat) upon the Prophet Muhammad three times to ask for blessings.

Then the coconut (with outer layer peeled) will be rolled on the pregnant woman’s stomach towards her legs. When the coconut rolls to her legs, the baby’s gender will be determined by which side the coconut’s ‘eyes’ land when it stops rolling.

If the coconut ‘eyes’ are on the upper side, the gender is a boy and if they are on the lower side, is a girl. Photo shows some of the items used in this ceremony.

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