Pregnancy, Childbirth, And The Intrapartum Period In Hispanic Culture

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Pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period in Hispanic culture is highly traditional, steeped in lore. Many Hispanic pregnancy and birthing practices are considered superstitious by the majority of European-Americans; however, a lack of understanding and cultural awareness in the medical community serving these patients is a main component in the reluctance of Hispanic women to seek out proper medical care and supervision. Female Hispanic migratory workers, especially those in rural areas, present a great risk of not receiving proper medical care during the prenatal, antepartal, intrapartal, and postpartal periods of pregnancy and birth. Healthcare professionals have an obligation to educate themselves regarding the cultural needs of …show more content…
Healthcare professionals should take several aspects into consideration when providing care, such as hot and cold care, language barriers, and traditional medicine and care. The practice of Hot and Cold traditional medicine, the belief that all aspects of life are represented as either “hot” or “cold” (Paulank, 2005), is prevalent in pregnancy and delivery, with pregnancy considered as hot. Hot and Cold traditional medicine is highly based on principles of balance and often has little to do with literal temperature; hot must be applied to balance cold and vice versa. After delivery, it is believed that cold will hinder the healing process, therefore many mothers eat a restricted diet of only hot foods and must be protected from cold air and becoming chilled.
For example, after delivery the mother’s legs should be closed to prevent cold air from entering her uterus. Bathing may be postponed until fourteen days postpartum and may be declined during the hospital admission. (Lowdermilk, 2010) This should not be seen as “dirty” or uncooperative. The nurse should make an effort to keep the patient warm, the room free of drafts, and offer sponge baths, as well as offer foods considered as hot, such as chicken broth and warm
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Nurses must be able to blend these two types of care together to respect the patient’s culture and to encourage and promote compliance with modern care. Following such customs as touching the baby when speaking about the child to prevent evil envious spirits from cursing the baby or incorporating purgantes, or home remedies to prevent postpartum depression, into the aftercare instructions establishes trust between the patient and medical community. By showing respect and consideration for the patient’s beliefs, a nurse is most likely to make a positive impact in whether the new mother will continue to seek professional care for herself and her

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