Author(s): Gekil E, Sahin T, Ege E
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: to gain an understanding of traditional postpartum practices for women and babies, and to investigate the factors influencing such practices. DESIGN: descriptive study. SETTING: Maternity and Children's Hospital in Adiyaman city, Turkey. PARTICIPANTS: 273 women who gave birth at the Maternity and Children's Hospital in Adiyaman city from March to June 2004. FINDINGS: more than half of the 273 women (55.7\%) were aged between 25 and 32 years (mean 27.85, standard deviation [SD] 5.45). A total of 22.3\% of women were illiterate, and most were unemployed. The most popular practices among new mothers were eating a kind of dessert, called 'Bulamaç' (82.8\%). A number of women (69.6\%) drank a mixture of grape molasses and butter, 64.5\% had their abdomen tightly wrapped, 62.6\% were not left alone at home, and more than half of the women (57.9\%) avoided sexual intercourse for 40 days after giving birth. Nearly, half of the women (45.4\%) fed their babies with water containing sugar just after the birth, and 77.1\% of women kept their babies' umbilical cord in a special place. Afterwards, the mothers threw the cords into a river or they buried them in the grounds of a mosque or a school. Most of the mothers (89\%) reported that they covered their babies with a yellow cloth in order to protect them from jaundice. A relationship between traditional postpartum practices and demographic characteristics of women was observed. The women's mothers and mothers-in-law (66.7\%) usually encouraged such practices. KEY CONCLUSIONS: postpartum care of women and their babies are important cultural practices. Some of these practices may have harmful effects on women and their babies. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: it is important to gain an understanding of cultural beliefs and traditional practices relating to the postpartum care of women and their babies. Midwives and nurses should discuss these findings and their implications when they educate new mothers and their families about contemporary methods of postnatal maternal and infant care.
This article was published in Midwifery
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