Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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A comparative study of traditional postpartum practices and rituals in the UK and Taiwan

Yu Chu Huang, Nigel Joseph Mathers

The aim of the study was to compare postpartum practices and rituals in women in the UK and Taiwan, within three months of delivery, using convenience sampling. The inclusion criteria were no medical complications in either pregnancy orchildbirth. A six-part, semi-structured self-report questionnaire was used to collect data from 50 women in the UK and 51 women in Taiwan. Key themes were identified from content analysis of qualitative data. The ritual customs followed weredivided into the following four subgroups:  choosing and predicting the gender of the baby:there was a significant difference (54% in Taiwan and 16% in the UK) in the proportion of women in the two countries who had used ritual customs to identify the gender of their baby  . .food fads during pregnancy and the postpartum period: one-third of the women in the UK and half of those in Taiwan had developed and followed different food fads during the course of their pregnancy  . taboos: 52% of the women in Taiwan and 22% of those in the UK had heard advice about not holding the newborn too  much . herbs used during pregnancy and after giving birth:major differences between the two cultures wereobserved.The majority of the women who were studied in both countries reported that their husband or partner was the most helpful person during the postnatal period, for example, because they shared the housework and looked after the baby.  Quantitative analysis using SPSS (version 13.0) showed that there was a highly significant difference (P