Kokusai Hoken Iryo (Journal of International Health)
Print ISSN : 0917-6543
Original Article
Socio-cultural Factors Affecting the Health of Pregnant and Puerperal Brazilian Women in Japan
Makiko MartinezHiroyo HatashitaHitomi SuzukiDenise M. Saint ArnaultRitsuko NishideSusumu TanimuraYasuko Ishimoto
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2017 Volume 32 Issue 2 Pages 69-81


  In this study, we aimed to clarify the socio-cultural factors affecting the mental and physical health of pregnant and puerperal Brazilian women living in Japan. The study participants were 18 pregnant and puerperal Brazilian women living in two prefectures with large Brazilian populations. A Japanese investigator and a Portuguese interpreter comprised the team, and conducted semi-structured interviews at the participants’ homes. The study period was between 2013 and 2014. The interviews were carried out using the Cultural Determinants of Help Seeking theory. Analytical ethnography was used for data coding and theme extraction.

  The results revealed that “worry” and “shoulder and back pain” were the most common mental and physical symptoms, followed by “headache,” “irritability and anger,” “insomnia and sleeplessness,” and “anxiety.” The reasons given for these included: “pregnancy and child rearing;” “anxiety about work and income;” “complications of being a foreigner;” and “the absence of someone to depend upon.” Moreover, the following five core categories of socio-cultural factors influencing these causes were extracted: “equal and deeply connected family;” “strength to continue working;” “choosing the right conditions to settle down in;” “low satisfaction with the healthcare system;” and “the blessings of God.”

  Pregnant and puerperal Brazilian women living in Japan have various mental and physical distress symptoms, and our findings revealed that differences between Brazilian and Japanese patterns of family life and religion were the major influencers on these. These findings must be understood to provide intervention in order to lead pregnant and puerperal Brazilian women to appropriate health behaviors.

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