There are a number of characteristics present in Hispanic women that affect their pregnancy and well-being in general. Although they have migrated to the United States, they still observe the customs and traditions of their country of origin. One of the downsides of this fact is that their use of preventive measures for health care is lower than the most of the people.
Women of the Hispanic community sometimes refuse to do screening tests like breast examinations and pap smears. Paternalism is a common tradition among the Latinos. Their women are used to being told what to do and as a result, they become hesitant to promote their own health care. This is why doctors are very careful when treating Hispanic pregnant women. They make sure to understand and respect the cultural differences of these patients so that their medical advice is given the same importance.
As of today, there are around 15 million citizens that are of Hispanic descent living in the country. Through the years that they have resided in the U.S., it is observed that there is also an increase in the level of acculturation – meaning they have adapted to the new ways of the host culture and have adjusted with their old ways. However, some women still avoid bending their beliefs especially when it comes to pregnancy and health care issues.
- They avoid eating spicy and hot food such as chili and coffee because they believe that their child will be born with spots if they do.
- They also avoid eating shrimps, fish and oysters to avoid giving birth to a child with bad body odors.
- To avoid having problems with their baby’s umbilical cord, they do not wear anything around their necks, clothing that has elastic and to reach for things that require them to move upward.
- They attach medallions, a red ball or a rosary to their clothing to prevent malformations in the child.
- They avoid intercourse during pregnancy as they believe it is harmful to the baby.
Cultural Views on Labor and Delivery
- They refuse to take any medication as they believe it can harm the baby.
- If their baby is in a poor position for birth, they believe that crawling on the hands and knees will help correct it.
- Screaming during labor and delivery is harmful to the baby.
- The Hispanic family wants to take the umbilical cord or placenta and take it home with them.
- They also like wearing bright clothing during labor as they believe that it will bring forth a baby with better attitude and intelligence.