The Delivery Process in Other Cultures

September 5, 2019
The birth of a baby is a blessing in all parts of the world. However, the delivery process varies from culture to culture.

The birth of a baby is one of the most important events in a woman’s life. The delivery process varies according to the customs and principles of each culture or country. The delivery process in other cultures have characteristics that have been fully respected for generations. Usually these processes don’t regard advances in medicine and technology.

There are many delivery techniques that exist: natural childbirth with no anesthesia, natural childbirth with anesthesia, water birth, induced birth, Cesarean section, and squat childbirth. There are even situations where the mother will try to prevent the birth of her child. This all depends on her health status and culture.

Currently, in most countries, there are health care centers that have exclusive delivery rooms with high technological advances. Thanks to this, childbirth doesn’t have to be so traumatic and painful for the mother and baby. They also both have access to quality health care.

Giving birth in Africa

Despite advances in the human race in recent centuries and decades, there are still practices that dismiss the innovative care available to women. The delivery process in different cultures can be very harsh and offensive to the mother. Some of their radical customs set them apart from the delivery process much of the world is accustomed to.

African mothers are still subject to genital mutilation, which continues to spark debates around the world. Those practices are considered inhumane and incomprehensible. In addition, when they give birth, they do so in the public eye. They aren’t allowed to express pain, something that would be taken as an offense to their family.

Giving birth in indigenous communities

There are many rituals in indigenous populations, but what surpasses them all is the delivery process in which the woman sits or squats, always vertically. At birth, the mothers demonstrate their courage before the people, guided by their deity.

The Delivery Process in Other Cultures

Women in labor are always accompanied by a midwife and their husband. The husband pushes his wife’s abdomen to force the baby’s delivery. Meanwhile, the midwife creates a connection with God. She asks Him to protect the mother and child and bless them with health.

Giving birth in Oceania

In this culture, childbirth is a public act, as in Africa. However, in this case, the attitudes about childbirth of those in this community are different. Family and friends give encouragement to the new mother through songs and cries of love.

Women are considered impure after giving birth, so they’re isolated in an enclosure outside their homes with their children. They can only return to their husband’s side after 15 days have passed after birth.

“The delivery process in other cultures have characteristics that have been fully respected for generations. Usually these processes don’t regard advances in medicine and technology.”

Giving birth in the Philippines

Many Filipino populations practice foot birth. With this delivery process, the midwife is placed on a bamboo roll while the woman in labor is suspended on ropes until the child is delivered.

It’s an extremely dangerous technique which has decreased due to the mothers suffering severe hemorrhage. This caused the mortality rate to skyrocket. Therefore, medical centers have been more involved in the delivery process.

The Delivery Process in Other Cultures

Squat

In ancient Egypt, as well as Aztec and some African populations, women gave birth to their children by squatting. This position facilitates the delivery of the child by the pressure applied by the mother’s own body to the abdomen and the inclination of her groin for the baby’s exit.

As much as science has evolved in terms of delivery processes, many populations continue with dangerous practices that cause unnecessary deaths of the mother and baby.

Ideally, these populations should find the balance between science and tradition so that the well-being of the mother and baby prevails. There is no need to completely lose the traditions. However, these cultures need to accept the medical advances that make the delivery process much easier and less riskier.

  • Kirschhoff H. (1971). La posición de la mujer durante el parto. De la prehistoria hasta la fecha. Oss, The Netherlands: Organorama, Organon Nederland. 1971;14:1.
  • Lugones Botell, M., & Ramírez Bermúdez, M. (2012). El parto en diferentes posiciones a través de la ciencia, la historia y la cultura. Revista Cubana de Obstetricia y Ginecología, 38(1), 134-145. https://www.medigraphic.com/cgi-bin/new/resumen.cgi?IDARTICULO=57179
  • Muñoz, M. J. M. (2007). Las culturas del nacimiento. Representaciones y prácticas de las mujeres gestantes, comadronas y médicos. Universitat Rovira i Virgili.
  • Roy, M. E. R., Moreno, A. C., & Jimeno, J. F. (2014). Las posturas de la mujer en el parto en fase de expulsivo: revisión de la evidencia científica y recomendaciones. Medicina naturista, 8(1), 25-32. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/4560683.pdf