Hispanic Culture and Childbirth

Table of Contents


There is so many different cultures in Eastern Indiana. So many different beliefs and myths regarding pregnancy, prenatal care and childbirth. Hispanic culture has many different beliefs my different generations. Nurses must adapt to all the different cultures. You cannot provide care the same way to every person. Nurse need to know the different cultures in the area that they work and for whom they will care for. Not just the culture but their medical beliefs. Beliefs or MythsSome myths of beliefs resemble taboo to this generation. The old generations do not stray from their beliefs, at times the younger generations are looked down on for not following tradition. There are several different cultures all within the Hispanic culture. Not all Hispanics have the same traditions. One belief is the new mother should drink or eat plenty of dark chocolate so that her breast will produce a lot of milk. Some belief a new mother should have a forty-day rest period where family members care for them and make home remedies, that if the new mother takes, she will not get depression. The new mother must care for the newborn herself and does not have sexual relations with her husband for forty-days.

Then in another subculture the women are to meet their husbands’ sexual needs during pregnancy and after giving birth ( Morales, Lara, Kington, Valdez, & Escarce 2002, ). Some belief the women should not shower for several days, they belief this also will help prevent depression. The belief that you can tell the sex of the baby by taking a hair from the expecting woman and tying her hair to the wedding ring, holding the hair with the ring tied to it above the women’s belly depending on the way it swings will tell if you are having a boy or girl. There is a lot more believes on how to tell the sex of the baby, if your face is round, if you carry all your weight in the front or on your bottom. Most are all myths. ( Morales, Lara, Kington, Valdez, & Escarce 2002, ).

Another belief is if a pregnant woman does not satisfy her food cravings the baby will have a birth defect. They belief that the foods they crave are needed for a healthy baby. It is thought that the more milk they drink the bigger and healthier the baby will be, and that if they drink chamomile tea, they will have an easier labor ( Partridge, Balayla, Holcroft, & Abenhaim, 2012, ). A lot of these myths exit in a lot of different cultures. FamilyCulture is defined as a group of people with the same beliefs, norms, values, rules and behaviors. It is a lifestyle learned and shared, a guide to decision making and a way that guides their lives. Most Hispanics in the United States continue to belong to the Roman Catholic Church, some have strayed to other religions. Hispanic culture regarding pregnancy is very respected. The family is very involved in the pregnancy. Some women are encouraged to quit their jobs so they can take better care of themselves. Women are encouraged to rest often, eat well, and take walks to have a normal pregnancy.

Women prefer female care givers ( Partridge, Balayla, Holcroft, & Abenhaim, 2012, ). Pain According to a one study about pain medications. Fifty three percent of hispanic women did not use an epidural during delivery, and forty one percent did not use a combination of epidural and IV for pain control during delivery compared to all other racial groups, sixteen percent did not use any pain medications at all. Other research shows that hispanic women are an execption to national trends. The interviews conducted with the hispanic women revealed that most hispanic women viewed labor as a necessary process of delivery and that pain medications was bad on the baby. Most thought that epidural could cause back damage. With these findings it is very important for nurses to understand that some cultures believe that pain is a natural process and not everyone uses pain medication ( Conte 2012, ). Traditions It is part of the culture to support the new mother and give advice on how to care for the newborn.

Patients do not make decision’s alone they consult with their families. Families support breastfeeding and help the new mother work through issues even when she wants to quit. Long ago it was believed that the baby could take air in through the belly button, so it was always kept covered, you can still buy the gauze that they used. It is believed that the soft spot in the head if it becomes sunken in then the baby was pulled from the nipple to soon or someone gave them an evil eye (Bleakney, 2010, ). Some younger Hispanic women will take older family members with them to doctors appointments, so the doctor can explain those believes are wrong. The experience of childbirth is a universial experience shared by all cultural women. Each woman experiences this in a unique and different way depending on their culture. Culture plays a role in how the pregnant women perpares for and gives birth. Each culture has their on beliefs and values that are taught to the members regarding pregnancy and childbirth (Greene, 2007, ).right42608500 Prenatal care (child trends,2019, )In a study that was complete on how many women reported only having prenatal care in the third trimester or no prenatal care at all. Hispanic women was at eight percent, the highest was american indian or alaska native at twelvepercent, and non hispanic white the lowestest with five percent. Different studies show different results, not all states use the same time of birthcertificates (child trends,2019, ). Not having adequate prenatal care can lead to miscarriage, perterm labor, still births, early and late neonatal deaths. There is a lot of factors that play into prenatal care of Hispanics.

Issues for Hispanics differ from other ethnic groups because of culture and social class. Age, education, social class, available affordable healthcare all factors in to when prenatal care will be established (Partridge, Balayla, Holcroft, & Abenhaim, 2012, ), (Abens, Szafraniec, & Nadeau, 2006, ), (Alexander, Kogan & Nabukera, 2002, ). Nursing careKnowing the cultural of your patient gives you a strong foundation of knowledge. Through changes in both approach and technique it allows the nurse to understand and empathize with that culture. The nurse will be able to deliver appropriate and effective health care (Greene, 2007, ). Failure to understand and respond appropriately to the cultural values of patients can have many adverse consequences: reduced preventive screenings, delayed immunizations, use of harmful home remedies, non-compliance, to name a few.

Health care workers need to keep in mind that different cultural backgrounds vary in the cultural subgroups. There are many different subgroups under the Hispanic cultural, the nurse needs to ask questions to understand her patients (carteret, 2011, ). To improve the health of the mothers and babies the nurse needs to understand the culture beliefs and practices of the ethinic and racial minorities and immagrants of the patients they provide care too. Hispanics is the largest minority group in the Unitied States. If nurses can understand the culture they can releave some of the anxiety that is felt during labor.

There is five components that a nurse needs to understand to be able to care for different culture group they are: culture awareness, culture knowledge, culture skill, culture encounter and culture desire (Flowers, 2004, ). Spanish medical words1. Dolor—Dolor means “pain.” It can refer to either physical or mental pain.2. Enfermo/enferma—–means “sick.” However, it can also act as a noun meaning “sick person”3. Enfermedad — can refer to an illness, sickness or disease.4. Tengo dolor de — means “I have a pain/ache of…”5. Estoy enfermo/enferma —- means “I am sick.” 6. Tiene seguro médico? — Do you have medical/health insurance?7. Necesito ver su — I need to see your…8. Tarjeta de seguro medico — Medical/health insurance card9. Cuál es su…? — What is your…?10. Nombre complete — Complete name (first and last)11. Número de teléfono — Telephone number12. Quién es su contacto de emergencia? — Who is your emergency contact?13. Signos vitals — Vital signs14. Peso — Weight15. Síntoma — Symptom16. Náusea — Nausea17. Vómito — can refer to the act of vomiting or the vomit itself.18. Estreñimiento — Constipation19. Doctor/doctora/médico/médica — Doctor20. Enfermero/enfermera —- Nurse21. Hospital — Hospital22. Sala de maternidad — Maternity ward23. Medicina — Medicine24. Cirugía — Surgery25. Sangre — Blood (Crezee & Asano, 2015, ).If you care for a lot of Spanish speaking patients you should probably learn some Spanish, it will help you communicate and not always have to use a translator.


They are several good resources in Fort Wayne Indiana for Hispanic women:

Latinos count which invest in Latino students. Catholic charities have an advocate program to help with translators and finding healthcare and other services. Birth mother assistance they have several programs: for pregnant mothers, medical assistances, support groups, drug and alcohol support groups, crisis center. They also have classes for labor and delivery, nutrition and wellness, morning sickness and choosing the right doctor and hospital. Indiana pregnancy and resource centers offer free services: pregnancy test, ultrasounds, medical care and other services. The Hope center offers several confidential services on adoption and abortion. Knowing culture is very important in health care. A good health care worker will take the extra time to learn about their patients’ culture, to help ease anxiety and frustrations the patient and their families may have during childbirth. Our technology has grown so much, but we need to start educating the younger generations early in high school regarding sex, prenatal care, childbirth and caring for a child. We need to be proactive with education, not all cultures will agree but this will safe the younger generation some unneeded hardships.



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Racial Differences in Prenatal Care Use in the United States: Are Disparities Decreasing? American Journal of Public Health, 92(12), 1970-1975. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1447361Bleakney, C. A. (2010).

Prenatal Care of Hispanic Mothers. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2366&context=utk_chanhonoprojCarteret, M. (2011). Cultural Values of Latino Patients and Families. Retrieved 9 16, 2019, from http://www.dimensionsofculture.com/2011/03/cultural-values-of-latino-patients-and-families/Child Trends. (2019).

Late or no prenatal care. Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/late-or-no-prenatal-care.Conte, S. R. (2012).

Registered Nurses’ Perception of Hispanic Women’s Use, Decline and Preference of Pain Control During Childbirth. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from https://digitalcommons.gardner-webb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1109&context=nursing_etdCrezee, I. H., & Asano, T. (2015).

Introduction to Healthcare for Spanish-speaking Interpreters and Translators. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from https://amazon.com/introduction-healthcare-spanish-speaking-interpreters-translators/dp/9027212228Flowers, D. L. (2004).

Culturally Competent Nursing Care A Challenge for the 21st Century. Critical Care Nurse, 24(4), 48-52. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from http://ccn.aacnjournals.org/content/24/4/48.fullGreene, M. J. (2007).

Strategies for Incorporating Cultural Competence Into Childbirth Education Curriculum. Journal of Perinatal Education, 16(2), 33-37. Retrieved 9 16, 2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1905821Morales, L. S., Lara, M., Kington, R., Valdez, R. O., & Escarce, J. J. (2002).

SOCIOECONOMIC, CULTURAL, AND BEHAVIORAL FACTORS AFFECTING HISPANIC HEALTH OUTCOMES. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 13(4), 477-503. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc1781361

Partridge, S., Balayla, J., Holcroft, C., & Abenhaim, H. A. (2012). Inadequate prenatal care utilization and risks of infant mortality and poor birth outcome: a retrospective analysis of 28,729,765 U.S. deliveries over 8 years. American Journal of Perinatology, 29(10), 787-794. Retrieved 9 15, 2019, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22836820