Maternal Care in Asian-Indian Culture

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India is multicultural country with predominant Hindu population. Although, western medicine is widely popular across the country, healthcare belief in India is highly influenced by traditional Indian medicine named Ayurveda which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems. It uses concept of balanced diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.

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Prenatal care for most women are followed better in urban area than in remote areas. Despite of having access to healthcare facilities, many urban women don’t visit doctors as frequently as recommended by World Health Organization. According to Singh, A., Kumar, A., & Pranjali, P. (2014) Low use of maternal healthcare services is one of the reasons why maternal mortality is still considerably high among adolescents mothers in India. Most women from rural areas never visit physician for prenatal care due to poverty, lack of education and travel distance to healthcare facilities. Therefore, there are about thirty percent population of women still deliver their baby at home. Another group of women who don’t receive prenatal care are unmarried pregnant women. Asian Indians believe that childbirth must be confined within marriage. Getting pregnant before marriage becomes a big deal as it brings shame and social isolation to the pregnant women as well as to her family. These women are hesitant to leave their house due to worry of being hurt physically or tortured mentally.

Diet during pregnancy is based on traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda. It plays an important role in determining on what type of food women should be eating during prenatal and post-natal stage. According to Wells, Young-Oak, and Elaine Dietsch (2014) high protein, acidic and salty foods are considered ‘hot’, and sweet food, vegetable and fruits are considered ‘cold’. Most of pregnancy is seen as a ‘hot’ state, so ‘hot’ food is to be avoided, but towards the end of pregnancy, ‘hot’ food is recommended to help with birthing. The postnatal and lactating mother is in a ‘cold’ state therefore ‘hot’ food is recommended.

Belief and behavior during pregnancy varies with different group of people with status of education and socioeconomic factor. Some cultures force women to deliver at home, others get assistance from health care. Most women normally move to their maternal home in the beginning of third Semester and stay up to a month post-partum. They believe that they receive better care at maternal home rather than at their own home where they may need to get engaged with lot of work. To relieve ache and pain during pregnancy, they are massaged daily by a family member particularly by her mother. Evidence support,

After delivery, baby is given a bath immediately. Bath is continued up to three months on daily basis. To strengthen baby’s health and wellbeing, baby is massaged with warm mustard oil and baby is exposed in sun every morning. To ward off evil, Small black dot is applied on baby’s forehead daily.

In Asian Indian culture, physical role of the father is very minimal during pregnancy but they endure all financial need of the family. Childbirth continues to be a women’s affair where fathers are responsible for family’s basic needs. Father are usually kept away from mother’s room during delivery, in some cases, fathers are not even allowed to see the newborn till twelfth day when the naming ceremony takes place.

LVNs can play an important role while taking care of patients from this culture. LVNs should take advantage of patient’s obstetrics visits as an important point of contact between HCP and pregnant women. Nurses can perform a cultural assessment that has details information about their cultural beliefs, values and practices so that their pre-natal and post-natal care can be culture-customized. LVNs can make a huge differences by teaching prenatal and postnatal care during doctor’s visit.

Nurses face many challenges daily while taking care of wide diversity of people. With Asian Indians, commons challenges nurses face, are language barrier, not readily available female caregivers as they mostly prefer female caregivers. Large numbers of women are even unaware of availability of Indian food at Wester healthcare settings. Some women are not very open with health care providers about their reproductive issues.

It is important for nurses to arrange an interpreter to communicate with patients so that there is no communication gap between patients and nurses. McKinney’s Maternal-Child Nursing (2018) outlines that cultural differences between healthcare workers and families may complicate the maternal care. Therefore, Nurses must be a culturally sensitive and they shouldn’t be judgmental while taking care of these patients.

References:

Wells, Young-Oak, and Elaine Dietsch (2014).Childbearing Traditions of Indian Women at Home and Abroad: An Integrative Literature Review. Women and Birth, Retrieved from https://www.womenandbirth.org/article/S1871-5192(14)00086-9/pdf

McKinney, E. S. (2018). Maternal-child nursing 6th Edition

Patra, S., Arokiasamy, P., & Goli, S. (2016). Relevance of Health Knowledge in Reporting Maternal Health Complications and Use of Maternal Health Care in India. Health Care for Women International, 37(5), 531–549. https://doi.org/10.1080/07399332.2014.946509

Singh, A., Kumar, A., & Pranjali, P. (2014). Utilization of maternal healthcare among adolescent mothers in urban India: evidence from DLHS-3. PeerJ, 2, e592. doi:10.7717/peerj.592https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4226640/pdf/peerj-02-592.pdf

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Maternal care in Asian-Indian Culture. (2019, Aug 13). Retrieved August 19, 2022 , from
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