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Postpartum Beliefs and Practices Among Non-Western Cultures

Kim-Godwin, Yeoun Soo PhD, MPH, RN

MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: March-April 2003 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 74-78
feature articles: CE

Postpartum health beliefs and practices among non-Western cultures are each distinct, but have many similarities. Two common belief systems surround 1) the importance of hot and cold, and 2) the necessity of confinement during a specific period of time after giving birth. This article describes common postpartum health beliefs among women in Guatemala, China, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, India, and Mexico, and offers an exemplar from the author’s experiences as a Korean woman giving birth in the United States. Cultural competence in the provision of postpartum care is essential for nurses in the healthcare world of the 21st century.

Yeoun Soo Kim-Godwin is an Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Wilmington NC. She can be reached at 3204 Bougainvillea Way, Wilmington NC 28409 (e-mail:

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