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Birth In Different Cultures

Birth In Different Cultures

In this discussion we will explore cultural variations in the birth experience.

  • For instance, kangaroo care, which is described in the text, was first initiated by two South American neonatologists to involve parents in the care of their preterm children and to decrease some of the stress associated with an infant needing neonatal intensive care. Parents who have experienced kangaroo care express excitement and joy with the practice.
  • In Guatemala, traditional midwives provide the majority of maternity care and are responsible for 60 to 75 percent of all births. Government-run midwifery training programs are grounded in a holistic model, which views childbirth as a normal process having powerful emotional, physical, cultural, and spiritual dimensions.
  • As a third example, many cultures have dances that have roots in childbirth preparation. These dances often center around pelvic movements and exercises that help women’s bodies to relax, stretch, and open naturally during birth. These include cultures in Hawaii, Seneca (Native American), Tunisia, and several other areas throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia. In certain parts of Asia, for instance, the practice of “dancing baby down” includes the techniques of “belly roll” and “flutter.” These movements are virtually identical to two of the exercises commonly taught in Lamaze classes to help prepare women for the stresses of labor: “pelvic rocking” and “deep breathing.”

First, please watch the 2 videos linked below – one is a birth occurring in Kenya, the other is a birth occurring in Vietnam.

The traditional midwives of Isiolo

Birthrights – The Mountain Midwives of Vietnam

(For this one – Vietnam – you are welcome to skip forward to 17:00 when the woman is in labor though the entire video is very interesting to watch)

DISCUSSION ASSIGNMENT

1. Reflect on the birth experiences of the 2 women in the videos as compared to normative birth experiences in the US. (If you are unsure about birth in the US, there are plenty of videos on YouTube you can watch). Specifically, what stood out to you in each of the videos as positive? What stood out to you in each of the videos as troubling/negative?

2. Go online and look up birth experiences from another culture. Post the culture you researched and a very brief summary of the information you found. 

3. Based on the information you saw in the videos, read in the text and in the beginning of this assignment, and what you found through your research, are there things you feel are especially important for childbirth REGARDLESS  of cultural norms? What are they?


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