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HEALTH-CULTURE BELIEFS Introduction An unders

An understanding of health-culture beliefs begins with that of the United States. Within a technological society, health-culture beliefs regarding childbirth are explored. Obstetrical revolutions occur in a cultural environment and are charged with changing values and practices. Practices include prenatal, parturition, and postpartum values, beliefs, and customs and how these customs act as possible barriers to delivery care offered by health professionals such as nurses (Hahn, 1987).

United States Health-Culture Beliefs

To a society like that of the United States, which is technological in nature, the process of childbirth continually questions boundaries between the American culture and nature. Americans peruse control over birth. Obstetrical procedures such as electronic fetal monitoring, episiotomies, the lithotomy position, and the Cesarean section can be viewed as resulting responses to this control versus nature, which will not be controlled, conflict. The American culture views man as superior to nature. Man is seen as able to discover, understand, and intervene with the laws by which events proceed. Since natural childbirth can be seen as a threat, birth is removed from everyday life and walled off in hospitals. The performance of obstetrical rituals allow the obstetrician to begin to take control with the predictable pattern of mechanical processes. These rituals may result in traumatizing or empowering the birthing women, however they usually provide a sense of certainty that their babies will be born and neither they or their babies will die. Medical rituals then fulfill the universal social need for symbolic enculturation of the new-born. The American birthing system therefore has meaning and a purpose within its cultural context (Davis-Floyd, 1990).

Couvade is a term used to refer to customs applying to the behavior of fathers during pregnancies, childbirth, and shortly after the births of their c...

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