The cultural beliefs and practices amongst urban antenatal Botswana women

Lionjanga, Reginah
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The purpose of this non-experimental descriptive study was to identify the cultural beliefs and practices surrounding pregnancy. The study aims at collecting data which will function as baseline information on cultural beliefs and practices surrounding pregnancy. The study was conducted in the city of Francistown, the second largest to the capital of Botswana situated in the north-east. A structured interview guide with both open and close-ended questions was used to collect data from 230 pregnant women who were 18 years of age and above and who were willing to participate. The data was processed on computer and a statistical software package known as Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used. The study revealed that pregnant women used a combination of care givers which either included a modem midwife and an elderly woman at church or a modem midwife and a traditional midwife. This is done in order to follow the traditional and cultural beliefs surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. The majority (92.2%) of the antenatal women in this study had primary and secondary education but still follow their cultural beliefs and practices, thus education does not appear to influence cultural beliefs and practices. The most common reasons cited for adhering to the beliefs and practices were that defiance was a taboo punishable by the ancestors. This study has highlighted the cultural beliefs and practices related to pregnancy. Further in-depth investigation into the impact of these cultural beliefs and practices is needed as it is imperative to determine their impact on pregnancy and its outcome. The limitation of the study was that data was only collected in one city and therefore the results cannot be generalised to the entire population.