African American and Haitian Heritage Essay

There are many different beliefs and values with the African American Culture compared to the Haitian Culture relating to child bearing and pregnancy. Both of the cultures have history of having large families in the rural areas, which was viewed as a necessary necessity because of the economic pressures each culture went though. The African American choice of birth control was oral contraceptives compared to the Haitians who used a variety of contraception methods such as the “birth control pill, female sterilization, injections, and condoms” Kemp (2012) states.

The Haitians are mostly Catholic which makes them unwillingly to engage in conversations about pregnancy, and their fertility practices. Compared to African Americans who willingly to speak to older family members about their behavior during their pregnancy, or will help guide them with many of the practices and beliefs of a pregnant women.

The African Americans view and belief on abortion is that many oppose abortion because of their “religious or moral beliefs”, and others oppose abortion because of moral, cultural, or “Afrocentric beliefs” WHO (2011) states.

These beliefs will cause a delay in decision which makes abortions unsafe, compared to the Haitian Culture who does not talk about abortion openly, it is considered a women’s issue. Pregnancy is not considered a disease, or a “health problem, many Haitian women seek no prenatal care”, work fulltime until delivery, and celebrate their pregnancy as a time of joy. Haitian women also “do not eat spices”, but are encouraged to eat vegetables, and red fruits to increase the fetus blood Kemp (2012) claims. Compared to the African American women who seek prenatal care early in their pregnancy, also they respond to being pregnant as any other women in an ethnic group.

Furthermore each one of the cultures has views, and beliefs that they follow during their pregnancy. The “Haitian women historically would walk, squat, or sit”, during labor, practice natural

childbirth, but since migrating most Haitian women have adopted other practices. The fathers do not participate in delivery, but other female families members offer support Kemp (2012) states. The African American women have many beliefs or myths they believe in during their pregnancy. “Pica is the eating of a nonnutritive substance” such as soap, needles, dirt, and etc., this practice will help ease pain during delivery, and reduce nausea Galanti (2012) states. Furthermore African American women believe in many beliefs because it will cause harm to them and the unborn baby, during delivery they believe it is ok to be vocal.

In addition during delivery African American women will have granny midwives deliver their unborn baby, and others will arrive at the Hospital in advanced labor to reduce the time spent there. Emotional support is provided by other women especially their mother, because men believe it is a private issue between women.

The Haitian women believe that postpartum is a crucial period of childbearing, immediately after birth they will dress warmly to become more healthy, and clean. After delivery Haitian women believe that their “bones are open which makes them stay in bed 2-3 days postpartum” Galanti (2012) states so the bones can close. Another postpartum practice is the “three baths”, the first three days the mother will bathe in hot boiled water that will have leaves, bought or picked from the field.

Then for the next three days the mother will bathe in water and leaves warmed by the sun. At the end of the third week the mother takes the third bath which is cold, Haitian women also avoid white foods during this period. Compared to the “African American women during postpartum period family support is needed to care for them six to eight weeks” after delivery Galanti (2012) states. Babies were not named until after they were known to survive, and the placenta has a spirit of its own which has to be buried after birth to avoid having a connection to the baby. Increased “vaginal bleeding is a sign of a sickness”, and tea is believed to have healing powers Kemp (2012) states.

References
Galanti, G. (2012) “Cultural Diversity in Health Care” African American. Retrieved on January 27, 2013 from www.ggalanti.org
Kemp, C. (2012) “Haitians” Retrieved on January 27, 2013 from www.baylor.edu
World Health Organization (2011) World Global Cultures” Retrieved on January 27, 2013 from www.who.org

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