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Cultural Differences Among Birthing Women

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1 Cultural Differences Among Birthing Women
Lori Cooper Abby Pope Simona Asiatico Sherry Benner

2 Traditions and customs among women in various cultures can differ greatly.
Pregnancy decisions can be affected by these cultural beliefs. Included in this presentation is examples of cultural influences and how they affect decision-making.


4 The Russian Culture Russian women prefer to be alone during labor and birth. They view labor and birth as a private experience. They prefer not to have their partners present because they were afraid for their husbands!


6 Using female relatives at the birth instead of the husband is a common practice.
This is popular among many women in Arabic cultures as well as traditions of Pacific Islanders, Cambodians, Chinese, Filipinos, Indonesians, and Koreans.

7 The Chinese culture Chinese women are encouraged to avoid heavy manual labor and rest. Infant boys are considered more valuable than infant girls. The Chinese avoid “cold” foods such as bean sprouts and bananas because they believe it increases the risk of miscarriage.


9 Chinese Culture In the Chinese culture, eating during labor is the norm. When asking for water, they prefer warm water. If given ice chips they are not eaten for fear of upsetting the hot-cold balance. They may not choose to use ice on episiotomies for this reason Upsetting the hot-cold balance is thought to cause arthritis in old age. The “Sitting Month” is the month after delivery where women are encouraged to rest and recover.

10 Hispanic Culture A majority of Hispanics are Catholics.
Women tend to use female relatives to assist in their labor. Males are not brought in until after the baby is born and both are cleaned up and dressed. They have a period of “Lying In” for resting before returning to work called La Cuarentena that lasts 40 days. Extended family is important in the Hispanic culture and are very influential in making decisions about care.

11 Hispanic Culture (continued)
Latin American women may expect to have more power over their labor position than what they are given in traditional U.S. hospitals.

12 African Culture It is typical for the woman to deliver while squatting on the ground surrounded by female relatives. Squatting is representative of the mother’s connection with the earth. Midwives only get paid if delivery is successful. Some relatives act as midwives. In the Yoruba tribe, in Nigeria, the name given to the child must reflect circumstances around the birth.


14 African Culture Infertility is a great tragedy in African society.
Tradition is to bury the placenta to ensure future fertility. Infertile women will sometimes urinate on the ground where the placenta is buried in hopes that she will become pregnant.


16 References

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