An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Postpartum Beliefs and Practices among Chinese Women

Main Article Content

Qingjun Wang
Warunee Fongkaew
Marcia Petrini
Kannika Kantaruksa
Nonglak Chaloumsuk
Shaofeng Wang

Abstract

               In many Asian societies, traditional postpartum practices are believed to be vital to the health of women and babies. Deep cultural and social meanings are attached to practices related to behaviors, activities, foods, hygiene, and infant care with variance by regions. Previous studies have demonstrated diverse interpretations of the traditional postpartum beliefs and practices by local communities. In the rural area of Jiujiang Jiangxi Province, China, postpartum women’s beliefs and practices have not been documented. This paper is part of an ethnographic study aimed to describe the traditional postpartum beliefs and practices among women in the sociocultural context of the rural area of Jiujiang, Jiangxi province. The villages of two townships of Maying and Zhangqing in Jiujiang City, were the settings for the study. Data collection was from January 2017 to July 2017. Participant observation in the rural area context and in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 postpartum women as key informants. A six-step qualitative data analysis method was used. Three themes emerged from the traditional postpartum practices - zuo fang (sitting in room): gaining yin-yang (shady-sunny) balance, preventing ‘xie’ (pathogenic factor) entering the body, and enhancing breastmilk production. Variations of the traditional postpartum beliefs and practices were influenced by the local sociocultural context. Knowledge of the cultural importance of traditional postpartum beliefs and practices of rural women is required for nurses to provide culturally sensitive postpartum nursing care.

Article Details

How to Cite
1.
Wang Q, Fongkaew W, Petrini M, Kantaruksa K, Chaloumsuk N, Wang S. An Ethnographic Study of Traditional Postpartum Beliefs and Practices among Chinese Women. PRIJNR [Internet]. 2019 Mar. 27 [cited 2022 Oct. 1];23(2):142-55. Available from: https://he02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/PRIJNR/article/view/118488
Section
Original paper
Author Biographies

Qingjun Wang, RN, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University. Thailand and Instructor, Faculty of Nursing, Jiujiang University, China.

Instructor of Gynecology and Obstetrics Nursing.

Kannika Kantaruksa, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Associate Professor

Nonglak Chaloumsuk, RN, PhD, Lecturer, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.

Lecturer, Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University.

References

1. Rice PL. Nyo dua hli – 30 days confinement: traditions and changed childbearing beliefs and practices among Hmong women in Australia. Midwifery. 2000; 16: 22-34.

2. Liamputtong P, Yinmyam S, Parisunyakul S, Baosoung C, Sansiriphum N. Traditional beliefs about pregnancy and child birth among women from Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Midwifery. 2005; 21: 139-153.

3. Holroyd E, Lopez V, Chan S. W-C. Negotiating “Doing the month”: An ethnographic study examining the postnatal practices of two generations of Chinese women. Nurs Health Sci. 2011; 13: 47–52.

4. Yeh YC, John W. St, Venturato L. Doing the month in a Taiwanese postpartum nursing center: An ethnographic study. Nurs Health Sci. 2014; 16: 343–351.

5. Liamputtong P. Yu Duan practices as embodying tradition, modernity and social change in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. Women Health. 2004; 40(1): 79–99.

6. Lundberg PC, Thu NTT. Vietnamese women’s cultural beliefs and practices related to the postpartum period. Midwifery. 2011; 27: 731–736.

7. Rice PL, Manderson L. Introduction. In Rice PL, Manderson L. (Eds.), Maternity and Reproductive Health in Asian Societies. New York: Routledge; 2013. pp. 1-18.

8. Naser E, Mackey S, Arthur D, Klainin-Yobas P, Chen H, Creed D. An exploratory study of traditional birthing practices of Chinese, Malay and Indian women in Singapore. Midwifery. 2012; 28: e865–e871.

9. Sein KK. Beliefs and practices surrounding postpartum period among Myanmar women. Midwifery. 2013; 29: 1257–1263.

10. Nadia DS, May MT, Ei EK, May S. Delivery and postpartum practices among new mothers in Laputta, Myanmar: intersecting traditional and modern practices and beliefs. Cult Health Sex. 2016; 1-13.

11. Shariffah Suraya SJ. Beliefs and practises surrounding postpartum period among Malay women. Proc Social Sci Res. 2014; 49-417.

12. Sharma S, Teijlingen E, Hundley V, Angell C, Simkhada P. Dirty and 40 days in the wilderness: Eliciting childbirth and postnatal cultural practices and beliefs in Nepal. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016; 16:147.

13. Liu YQ, Petrini M, Maloni J. “Doing the month”: Postpartum practices in Chinese women. Nurs Health Sci. 2015; 17: 5-14.

14. Heh SS, Coombes L, Bartlett H. The association between depressive symptoms and social support in Taiwanese women during the month. Int J Nurs Stud. 2014; 41: 573–579.

15. Liu N, Mao L, Sun X, Liu L, Chen B, Ding Q. Postpartum practices of puerperal women and their influencing factors in three regions of Hubei, China. BMC Public Health. 2006; 6(274): 1-7.

16. Liu N, Mao L, Sun X, Liu L, Yao P, Chen B. The effect of health and nutrition education intervention on women’s postpartum beliefs and practices: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health. 2009; 9(45): 1-9.

17. Callister LC, Eads MN, Yeung Diehl JP. Perceptions of giving birth and adherence to cultural practices in Chinese women. Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2011; 36: 387–394.

18. Mao LM, Ma LP, Liu N, Chen BH, Lu QG, Ying CJ, Sun XF. Self-reported health problems related to traditional dietary practices in postpartum women from urban, suburban and rural areas of Hubei province, China: the ‘zuòyuèzi.’ Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2016; 25: 158–164.

19. Raven J, Chen Q, Tolhurst R, Garner P. Traditional beliefs and practices in the postpartum period in Fujian Province, China: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2007; 7(8): 1-11.

20. Dennis CL, Fung K, Grigoriadis S, Robinson GE, Romans S, Ross L. Traditional postpartum practices and rituals: a qualitative systematic review. Women Health. 2007; 3(4): 487–502.

21. Posmontier B, Horowitz JA. Postpartum practices and depression prevalences: technocentric and ethnokinship cultural perspectives. J Transcult Nurs. 2004; 15(1): 34-43.

22. Withers M, Kharazmi N, Lim E. Traditional beliefs and practices in pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum: A review of the evidence from Asian countries. Midwifery. 2018; 56: 158–170.

23. Cheung NF. Chinese zuoyuezi (sitting in for the first month of the postnatal period) in Scotland. Midwifery. 1997; 13: 55-65.

24. Shanti S, Nicholls R, Ritchie J, Razee H, Shafiee S. Eating soup with nails of pig: thematic synthesis of the qualitative literature on cultural practices and beliefs influencing perinatal nutrition in low and middle-income countries. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016; 16:192.

25. Sun DZ, Li SD, Liu Y, Zhang Y, Mei R, Yang M. Differences in the origin of philosophy between Chinese medicine and western medicine: Exploration of the holistic advantages of Chinese Medicine. Chin J Integr Trad and West Med. 2013; 19(9): 706-711.

26. Chin Y, Jaganathan M, Hasmiza A,Wu M. Zuo yuezi practice among Malaysian Chinese women: tradition vs modernity. Traditional Birth. 2010; 18(3): 170-175.

27. Yeh YC, John W. St, Venturato L. Inside a postpartum nursing center: tradition and change. Asian Nurs Res. 2016; 10: 94-99.

28. Chien LY, Tai CJ, Ko YL, Huang CH, Sheu SJ. Adherence to ‘‘doing-the-month’’ practices is associated with fewer physical and depressive symptoms among postpartum women in Taiwan. Res Nurs Health. 2006; 29: 374–383.

29. Cheng CY, Pickler R. Effects of stress and social support on postpartum health of Chinese mothers in the United States. Res Nurs Health. 2009; 32: 582–591.

30. You H, Chen J, Bogg L, Wu Y, Duan S, Ye C, . . . Dong H. Study on the factors associated with postpartum visit in rural China. PLoS ONE. 2013; 8(2): e55955.

31. Holroyd E, Katie F, Chun L, Ha S. “Doing the month”: An exploration of postpartum practice in Chinese women. Health Care Women Int. 1997. 18: 301-313.

32. Strand M, Perry J, Guo J, Zhao J, Janes C. Doing the month: rickets and postpartum convalescence in rural China. Midwifery. 2009; 25: 588 –596.

33. Fetterman DM. Ethnography: step-by-step. (3rd Ed.). SAGE: Los Angeles; 2010.

34. Holloway I, Galvin K. Qualitative Research in Nursing and Healthcare (4th ed.) UK: Wiley-Blackwell; 2017.

35. Whitehead TL. Basic classical ethnographic reaearch methods. CEHC. 2005; 1-29.

36. Braun V, Clarke V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual Res Psycho. 2006; 3(2): 77-101.

37. Guba E, Lincoln Y. Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In Denzin N, Lincoln Y. Handbook of qualitative research. CA: Sage: Thousand Oaks; 1994. pp. 105-117.

38. Cheung N. The cultural and social meanings of childbearing for Chinese and Scottish women in Scotland. Midwifery. 2002; 18: 279-295.

39. Elter PT, Kennedy HP, Chesla CA. Spiritual healing practices among rural postpartum Thai women. J Transcult Nurs. 2016; 3(27): 249–255.

40. Huang YC, Mathers NA. comparative study of traditional postpartum practices and rituals in the UK and Taiwan. Divers Equal Health and Care. 2010; 7: 239–47.

41. Ngai FW, Chan S, Holroyd E. Chinese primiparous women’s experiences of early motherhood: factors affecting maternal role competence. J Clin Nurs. 2011; 20: 1481–1489.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 > >>