According to Aiyar (2007), Hinduism dominants issue that concern childbirth in India, a family that is brought together that occupies the young population of India with a lower age limit of marriage with a significant difference between men and women. The division between the rural and urban areas, poor organization, disparities with interstate and the social- economic and cultural constraint has led to inadequate maternity health care in India (Pathak, 2010). As a result, patients from such background agree to whatever the doctor says irrespective of not understanding their situation as far as their health condition is concerned. They trust the physician to carry out a complete examination using by gathering historical facts about them. Therefore, this paper is meant to discuss the cultural belief of the Indian woman during pregnancy, birth and after birth.
Pregnancy: By definition, pregnancy refers to the period of a woman having a child developing in her uterus. Indian society view pregnancy as a physiologic fact that does not call for professional cutesy in the line of health services, and it is only when the woman has a complication that she is required to seek medical attention (Bandyopadhyay, 2003). Therefore, the control over pregnancy is out of the woman's reach, and as such, cannot control the outcome of that pregnancy. Additionally, the feeding process during pregnancy as far as nutrition is concerned is based on the concept that cold foods are health to the woman contrary to hot meals, which are cultural prohibited based on the belief that they are harmful. The theory of spicy foods is because, it's believed that pregnancy omits heat, and hence, it is advisable that the hotness is controlled by eating cold food (Bandyopadhyay, 2003). According to Indian culture, frozen food is desirable for avoiding miscarriage. On the other hand, hot meals are recommended during the last stages of pregnancy since it is believed to facilitate labor. The Indian culture requires the woman to carry out its activities until her labor days; however, that belief is only practiced among the unfortunate women from the low class, while the fortunate women are taken care of until the time of birth.
Birth: Due to the environmental and birth-related pollution beliefs in India, women that are undergoing labor are isolated from others to a secure area, where is believed to have minimum contamination. During birth, the pain that the women experience as the child approaches is massive to the point that the woman is meant to scream. It is a sad sign for a woman not to cry during birth because according to Indian culture, it is natural for a woman to yell at birth, failure to which, there must be a problem or complication, which May require medical attention. Some women may opt for bed delivery, while others may prefer squatting either on a stool or the floor. The belief by Indians suggests that it is a right sign for bleeding to occur during birth as it is a sign for uterus purification (Choudhry, 1997).
After birth: According to Ramakrishna (1992), the process that takes place after birth in India set up is one of the most crucial moments to both the mother and the child. The belief that the method of delivery has impurities that require for the isolation of both the child and the mother to a purified area. The segregation of the child and the postpartum women can take up to 40 days from the external environment. The main reason why Indian culture encourages confinement period is to protect the mother and the child from evil spirits and diseases at large. The mother-in-law, elderly female relatives, and aunts have the responsibility of enforcing the after the birth procedure due to the vulnerability of the child and the mother. For example, the make decision on what meals appropriate for the mother to eat, such as, hot water and tea for the first three days as preferred by some women (Ramakrishna, 1992). Indians believe that burying the placenta from the infant under the room where the birth took place; it's an act of keeping the enemy away from acquiring it and manipulating the wellbeing of the child.
In conclusion, Indian setup believes that the newborn is prone to fall victims of an evil eye. Therefore, looking at them with pleasure is not allowed among the Indian families because one may feel jealous and cast evil spirit upon the baby. Because some Indian families believe that physical examination may also contribute to influencing the wellbeing of the child, they prefer to avoid health measure such as weighing the newborn. Indian families fear to take the child for a physical examination because of the belief that they cast evil spirit on the infants. The feeding of the newborn baby depends on the cultural values based on the concept of cold and hot that translates to purity rituals (Pathak, 2010). Due to the pollution associated with childbirth, restrictions are given on feeding for both the mother and the child, and the establishment of colostrum determined when the infant is to breastfeed. The whole process from pregnancy to the nutrition of the child and the mother is taken seriously in Indian cultures. They believe that children and mother are the backbones of society and their protection is paramount in every community. It is also important to note that Indians value male child more than the female child because a male child offers extra economic support; he is a symbol of continuation with the family. A female child is seen as a financial liability, and requires additional protection from their parents, thus being less admired to have by their parents (Aiyar, 2007).
Aiyar, M. S. (2007). Politics and Religion in India. India International Centre Quarterly, 34, 1st ser., 42-50. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23006045
Bandyopadhyay, M. 2003. Missing girls and son preference in rural India: looking beyond popular myth. Health Care for Women International, 24(10), 910-926. 2009. Impact of ritual pollution on lactation and breastfeeding practices in rural West Bengal, India. International Breastfeeding Journal 4(2), doi: 10.1186/1746-4358-4-2
Choudhry, U. K. 1997. Traditional practices of women from India: pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 26(5), 533-539.
Pathak, P. K., Singh, A., & Subramanian, S. V. (2010). Economic Inequalities in Maternal Health Care: Prenatal Care and Skilled Birth Attendance in India, 19922006. PLoS ONE, 5(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013593
Ramakrishna, J., & Weiss, M. G. 1992. Health, illness, and immigration. East Indians in the United States. Western Journal of Medicine, 157(3), 265270.
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