Skin-to-skin contact : multicultural perspectives on birth fluids and birth ‘dirt’

Finigan, V and Long, T ORCID: 2014, 'Skin-to-skin contact : multicultural perspectives on birth fluids and birth ‘dirt’' , International Nursing Review, 61 (2) , pp. 270-277.

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Aim: To explore the experiences of women from three population groups of immediate skin-to-skin contact with their newborn baby.
Method: A mixed methods approach was adopted in a phenomenological study to elicit the experiences of English, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women. Audio-taped diaries, semi-structured interviews, photographs and video recordings were employed. Concept-mapping was central to data analysis.
Results: This paper is focussed on the novel finding that the women contextualised secretions and bodily fluids from birth, finding them to be acceptable. This contradicts the beliefs of many midwives that all Asian women find blood and bodily secretions abhorrent and culturally unacceptable. All of those in the study reported positive experiences of skin-to- skin contact despite varying degrees of soiling from birth fluids.
Limitations: The study was conducted in a single setting, with no attempt to ensure that participants were in all ways representative of others in their cultural groups nationally. Third party translation during interviews with Asian women may have added an unsought layer of interpretation to the study. The imposition of cultural expectations in the recruitment process by peer group members probably excluded some potential participants.
Conclusion: Stereotypical assumptions about cultural background rather than recognition of women’s individual beliefs and needs often characterise professional responses. When this stereotyping was put aside, women of all three cultures whether breast-feeding or bottle-feeding, were able to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with their newborn babies. Implications for nursing and health policy: The findings from this study suggest that changes will be needed in professional practice to be more open to women’s expressed preferences, in local policy to ensure that choices are made clear and are available, and in national strategic direction to ensure widespread adoption of positive practices if opportunities to increase breastfeeding, to promote parent-child bonding, and to support patient choice are to be realised.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: International Nursing Review
Publisher: Wiley
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0020-8132
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: S Rafiq
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2014 15:44
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 18:26

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