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JAPANESE CULTURE DURING PREGNANCY


This information was obtained through interviews conducted
 with 5 different Japanese women that reside in Hawaii.
The information on this web site reflects the opinions of these women.
 If you are pregnant please seek prenatal
care from a Doctor or Licensed Health Care Practitioner


   Background on interviewed women:
Age at first pregnancy - 24yrs, # of children now:1 boy & 1 Girl, woman's age now 47yrs, 2nd generation born in Hawaii
- 35yrs, # of children now: 1boy, woman's age now 40yrs, 2nd generation born in Hawaii

- 20yrs, # of children now: 1boy & 2 girls, woman's age now 33yrs, 3rd generation born in Hawaii
- 24yrs, # of children now: 1boy & 1girl, woman's age now 48yrs, native to Japan, resident of Hawaii 10yrs
- 19yrs, # of children now: 2boys & 1 girl, woman's age now 39yrs, 2nd generation born in Hawaii
                                  
 The following information is a combination of true Japanese culture and Japanese culture that has been assimilated since the family arrived in America. 
                             
Prenatal Care

 All of the women first determined they were pregnant through a home pregnancy test within their first gestational month of being pregnant.  All women interviewed, sought prenatal care from a western Doctor, either a  family practice MD or an OB/GYN with all pregnancies and as soon as possible.The husband was viewed as the first and most important person to tell the exciting news by all of the women.
       
Determining the sex of the baby

All of the women got a routine ultrasound but not to find out the sex of the baby. The woman from Japan report it is unethical for the Japanese doctors to reveal the sex of the baby. All but one of the women had no preference as to the sex of their first child. One woman reported her preference to having a boy due to him having the ability to carry on the family name, traditions and legacies.

Culturally Preferred foods:
During Pregnancy:
  • Prunes were believed to increase iron and decrease constipation
  • Okai (rice boiled with ume(picked plum) juice added) was believed to reduce nausea and vomiting during the first trimester
  • Fish was believed to make the baby smarter
  • Eating large quantities of seaweed was believed to give the baby healthy black hair
During Post-Partum Period:  
  • Hot miso (fermented rice, barley, or soybeans) soup was believed to help with lactation
  • Mochi ( sweet rice flour dessert) was believed to help with milk production


Activities During & After Pregnancy    

 Promoted Activity:
Restricted Activities:
Pain during delivery

Traditionally, when women experience labor pains, they are suppose to endure the pain silently.  It is viewed as shameful to take pain medication. Only three out of five of the women, followed this cultural view of pain.  
      

Naming the baby  
  • Traditionally the grand parents have the most influence in naming the baby.
  • All of the women interviewed that were born in America, felt it was ultimately up to them and their husbands to name the baby.


  This information  was compiled by students enrolled in the Hawaii  Community College Associate Degree Nursing  Program in 2007


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Posted October 22, 2007