2010

Background. Culture is often related to notions of well-being, illness, healing and health that inform individuals in their day-to-day activities. The postpartum period is noted for traditiol practices related to rest, healing and the consumption of food and drinks, but a contemporary view of these practices is needed. Aim. To gain an understanding of the traditiol practices that Thai women follow in relation to postpartum care and the ratioles underpinning such practices. Methods. This descriptive study surveyed 500 Thai women living in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand and attending their first postpartum hospital clinic appointment. A self-completion questionire was specially developed and pilot tested, and then administered to women attending the clinic. Data alysis. Descriptive statistics were used in relation to the incidence of particular behaviours. Chi-square alyses were conducted to determine relationships between demographic characteristics and traditiol practices. Results. The majority of Thai women adhered to traditiol postpartum practices related to the notion of regaining 'heat'. These included 'lying by fire', food restrictions, taking hot baths and consuming hot drinks. Other activities involved not exposing the body to heat loss by keeping covered, not shampooing the hair, avoiding the wind and sexual abstinence. Younger, less educated, primiparous women were more likely to report traditiol practices. Mothers and mothers-in-law were most influential in recommending these behaviours. Conclusions. Traditiol postpartum practices are still domint in contemporary Thai culture and are perpetuated by close female family relatives. Health professiols need to be aware of clients' culture and consider the extent to which professiol care complements the mothers' traditiol beliefs. Nurses need to educate women about the benefits of contemporary postpartum care and to provide strategies to help them to integrate their beliefs and the practices recommended in contemporary health care practice.