Cultural Perceptions of Maternal Illness among Khmer Women in Krong Kep, Cambodia

Stephanie Rose Montesanti


Cultural impacts on health are profound in the area of maternal health. Cultural beliefs shape a range of factors that affect reproductive health, including fertility patterns, contraceptive use, and maternal health-seeking behaviour. Traditional knowledge and medicine and childbirth in the home continues to be important to some cultures and especially in rural environments where there are social, economic and political barriers to accessing medical treatment. This paper will focus particularly on the cultural dimensions of pregnancy and postpartum care and women’s use of traditional healing practices, traditional birth attendants and midwives in Krong Kep, Cambodia. A discussion on the important role of midwives and trained traditional birth attendants on women’s pregnancy and birthing experience is provided.

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