Objectives: Traditional postpartum practices play an important role in maternal health.The purpose of this study was to clarify the four Laotian traditional postpartum practices (yu fai, kin nam hon, kalam kin and hom ya) at Japanese obstetrics and medical facilities.
Methods: The data collection method was based on a mail survey of self-administered questionnaires for obstetrics ward nursing managers at 121 facilities (hospitals 38, clinics 59, and birth centers 24) dealing with labor in Saitama Prefecture. The contents of the survey were age, facility outline, recognition of traditional practice, intent to implement support, possibility of implementation in the facility, etc. The relationship between the facility type and each item was examined, and statistical significance was set at p < 0.05 (2-sided).
Results: The responses of 81 persons (hospitals 30, clinics 37, and birth centers 14) were analyzed. The ratio of respondents who knew about the different traditional practices were 3.7% for yu fai, 1.2% for kalam kin and hom ya, and 0% for kin nam hon. The proportion of positive responses concerning intent to support implementation was high for the practice of kin nam hon. Among the different types of facilities, the practice of yu fai had a low negative response rate by birth centers; and a significant difference was seen. There was a high proportion of positive answers concerning the possibility of implementing the practices of yu fai, kin nam hon, and kalam kin. The birth centers had a significantly high ratio of positive responses concerning the practices of yu fai, kin nam hon and hom ya, and significant differences were found among the different types of facilities.
Conclusion: The level of awareness about traditional practices in post-natal care in Laos is low, probably due to the fact that the population of Laotian people in Japan is minimal. It is important for nurses to understand the cultural customs of minority foreigners residing in Japan by using interpreters to communicate with expectant mothers during and after pregnancy. There are many facilities that will be able to cope with the eating and drinking customs related to the practices of kin nam horn and kalan kin.Birth centers are especially seen as more likely to respond to women with special needs in comparison to other facilities because of its small size, and easy accessibility in providing individualized care.It is necessary to provide Laotian women with information about traditional postpartum practices in Japan, and to create an information system to support implementation of traditional postpartum practices at medical facilities for foreign women residing in Japan, as well as an urgent need to improve education and training in this area.