Perinatal beliefs and practices of immigrant Punjabi women living in Canada

Sukhdev K Grewal, Radhika Bhagat, Lynda G Balneaves
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing: JOGNN 2008, 37 (3): 290-300

OBJECTIVE: To describe new immigrant Punjabi women's perinatal experiences and the ways that traditional beliefs and practices are legitimized and incorporated into the Canadian health care context.

DESIGN: Naturalistic qualitative descriptive.

PARTICIPANTS/SETTING: Fifteen first-time mothers who had immigrated in the past 5 years to Canada from Punjab, India, and had given birth to a healthy infant in the past 3 months in a large urban center in British Columbia, Canada. Five health professionals and community leaders also took part in a focus group to confirm the study findings and to offer recommendations.

RESULTS: Three major categories emerged: the pervasiveness of traditional health beliefs and practices related to the perinatal period (e.g., diet, lifestyle, and rituals), the important role of family members in supporting women during the perinatal experiences, and the positive and negative interactions women had with health professionals in the Canadian health care system.

CONCLUSIONS: Change is required at the levels of the health professional, the heath care system, and the community to ensure that culturally safe care is provided to immigrant Punjabi women and their families during the perinatal period, which is an important and sensitive period of interaction with the Canadian health care system.

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