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Pregnancy care for maternal and fetal wellbeing: an ethnography study

02 December 2023
Volume 31 · Issue 12



In Indonesia, cultural beliefs affect holistic healthcare practices. The aim of this study was to identify the effects of cultural beliefs on maternity care and fetal wellbeing.


This study used an ethnographic-qualitative design and was conducted in a community setting in West Java, Indonesia. A total of 16 participants of Sundanese culture were recruited based on information from local health workers and community leaders. Questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and observation sheets were used to collect data on cultural beliefs that impacted pregnant women. Data were analysed using an editing analysis style.


The seven themes were: dietary practices and restrictions during pregnancy, hygiene practices, managing sleep and drowsiness, sexual intimacy and interactions, cultural beliefs and religious devotion, family participation and challenges monitoring fetal wellbeing.


To ensure quality pregnancy and fetal care, and facilitate provision of basic needs and parental empowerment, healthcare workers must consider women's cultural beliefs.

Pregnancy care can improve the health of pregnant women and fetuses by increasing awareness of potential serious pregnancy complications. Interventions carried out during pregnancy should be comprehensive, holistic and consider cultural beliefs (Jones et al, 2017).

In some rural communities in Indonesia, women have less agency to determine their needs during pregnancy, and often rely on traditional guidance based on cultural beliefs. Many prenatal, childbirth and postpartum care practices in these communities are based on sociocultural beliefs (Ansong et al, 2022). However, these practices are often incompatible with health science knowledge and can increase the risk of maternal and fetal death (Ariyo et al, 2017). The prevalence of high perinatal mortality and morbidity in certain communities may be linked with some religious and cultural beliefs (Paudel et al, 2018). For example, some communities hold that perinatal mortality and morbidity are the result of divine provision, and such religious–cultural interpretations can lead to a lack of prevention efforts during pregnancy and birth.

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