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Postpartum women's health, Southeast Asian Culture



  1. Davis, Ruth E. DEd, RNC, CRNP, NP-C


Purpose: To examine the meaning of postpartum experiences for Southeast Asian women living in the United States.


Study Design and Methods: Phenomenology. Open-ended interviews were conducted with 19 women; audio-taped interviews were transcribed and analyzed for recurrent themes.


Results: Women identified culturally specific treatments they needed to use following the birth of an infant. These treatments are meant to delay aging and to prevent chronic ailments, and include stringent dietary measures and prolonged rest periods. Because childbirth signifies a paramount event in the life of a woman belonging to the Cambodian, Vietnamese, or Hmong cultures, she is accorded a great deal of assistance from female relatives. Three themes were discovered through this research: Prolonged Rest, Regaining Balance in the Body, and the Affiliation of Women. The themes give meaning to childbirth experiences and future well-being in the community.


Clinical Implications: The childbirth experience in Southeast Asian cultures is saturated with great status, particularly in the family and community. In addition, postpartum cultural traditions of Southeast Asian women comprise deep meaning for healthy aging. Through this study, nurses can gain a more in-depth appreciation of the underlying meanings of postpartum practices for Southeast Asian women.