Amish Pregnancy and Birth

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Health care professionals working with patients of other cultures must be respectful and open to their patients’ values and beliefs. Culture is a set of learned values, beliefs, customs, and practices that are shared by a group and passed down through generations. A nurse must be culturally competent to understand the individual needs of each childbearing family. Pregnancy women in different cultures have various traditions and customs that affect the care they receive. For example, the Amish culture views pregnancy as a gift from God, and they do not believe in abortion or the use of birth control. Instead of hospitals, they use birthing centers that provide culturally congruent care. While Amish birth may seem quick, one theory suggests that their lack of fear and anxiety during the birthing process may contribute to this.

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Healthcare professionals must approach patients from different cultures with openness and respect for their values and beliefs. Culture encompasses a group’s collective knowledge, including customs, practices, values, and beliefs that are passed down through generations. It is crucial to acknowledge that individuals within a culture may exhibit varying behaviors. Nurses should demonstrate cultural competence by recognizing how each family’s childbirth needs are influenced by their distinct cultural background and life experiences.

Nurses who possess this skill can effectively address cultural differences by being receptive, empathetic, and inclusive. The care bestowed upon expectant mothers is influenced by diverse customs and traditions prevalent in various cultures. These women make decisions regarding their pregnancy and delivery based on their individual beliefs. In the United States, pregnancy and childbirth are commonly perceived as medical occasions involving hospitals, obstetricians, and frequent use of pharmaceutical pain relief. Nevertheless, there exist numerous alternative groups that diverge from these practices. In 1693, the Amish community separated from the Mennonites—a distinct Anabaptist faction.

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The Amish migrated to North America to escape religious persecution and freely express their beliefs. They currently reside in over 200 settlements spanning across 20 US states and one Canadian province. Pregnancy holds great significance within their culture, being regarded as a sacred blessing, thus rendering abortion strictly forbidden. Additionally, the Amish harbor reservations regarding the use of birth control as they perceive it to contradict God’s intended purpose for reproduction among them. Nonetheless, they are open to incorporating biomedical technology during childbirth, provided it aligns with their principles and way of life.

Fetal monitors are seen as beneficial for both the mother and child, as they improve outcomes. However, prenatal testing is viewed as unnecessary and a misuse of funds. The belief is that God will accept all children, regardless of any prenatal issues identified. Instead of hospitals, the Amish community often opts for birth centers. These centers have nurses available at all times and a doctor is usually on call. The purpose of these centers is to lower the cost of childbirth, allowing young families to continue expanding their families without financial burden. Additionally, these centers align with Amish cultural beliefs and practices, making them an ideal choice for healthcare.

The utilization of hospitals is not allowed unless all regulations are adhered to, in a manner similar to an Amish birthing center. Women from this community typically only go to an acute care facility in the presence of a medical emergency. The speed at which Amish births occur often surprises many due to their lack of prenatal care, preference for non-hospital deliveries, and refusal of pharmaceutical pain relief. One hypothesis suggests that their lack of fear and anxiety towards the birthing process plays a role.

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Amish Pregnancy and Birth. (2017, Jan 04). Retrieved from

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