The role of Cultural Beliefs and Practices in Postpartum and Newborn Care - A Qualitative study among newly-delivered mothers, their caregivers and community level health workers in a rural setting in South India.
Community-based postpartum care of mothers and newborns is vital to achieve mortality reduction. This qualitative study explored cultural beliefs and practices regarding postpartum care of mothers and newborns in rural Karnataka. Focus group discussions with newly delivered mothers and their caregivers in a rural maternity hospital, and in-depth interviews with community level health workers revealed cessation of the practice of withholding colostrum and the barbaric practice of branding, but found persisting harmful cultural beliefs and practices like withholding nutritious foods considered “hot” or “cold”, inadequate postpartum ambulation, separating husband and wife for up to a year or more after the birth, application of various substances to the umbilical stump and eyes of the newborn and giving pre-lacteal feeds.Antenatal and postpartum mothers, their caregivers, including elders in the family should be targeted by community level health workers for counseling and behavior change.
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