Poster Presentation

Friday, July 13, 2007
9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

Friday, July 13, 2007
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
This presentation is part of : Poster Presentation III
Cultural Beliefs and Practices Regarding Reproductive Health in Latinas of New Mexico
Yolanda Morales, APRN, BC and MaryAnn Osuchowski-Sanchez, PhDc, MSN, CFNP. College of Nursing, University of New Mexico, College of Nursing, Albuquerque, NM, USA
Learning Objective #1: Increase understanding of the cultural beliefs and practices related to sex, pregnancy, contraception, and motherhood in Latina women of New Mexico.
Learning Objective #2: Compare and contrast of the issues, between Latina women who were born in New Mexico and newly immigrant Latina women of New Mexico

Purpose: To gain an understanding of the cultural beliefs and practices related to sex, pregnancy, contraception, and motherhood of multigenerational and immigrant Latina women residing in New Mexico.

Background:  Since 1995, Latinas have experienced the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S.  Traditional measures of acculturation do not capture the wide range of cultural experiences and practices of the diverse Latina population. This study aimed to understand sexual practices by uncovering the cultural values that teenagers are exposed to in their specific Latina communities. 

Research Design:  An ethnographic approach was used to uncover the cultural values, beliefs, and customs regarding sex, pregnancy, contraception and motherhood among Latina women residing in New Mexico.

Findings/Themes: Immigrant women identified a lack of information regarding reproductive issues as a reason for fear and embarrassment of sex, pregnancy, childbirth, and menstruation.  Although teen pregnancy was noted less often in native Latin countries vs. the U.S., pregnancy out of wedlock, at any age, was often met with consequences of abandonment or abuse from one’s family.  The multigenerational participants received little information regarding reproductive health, and identified educational settings and peers as their primary source of information about reproductive health.  Negative social taboos of premarital pregnancy remained with consequences of rejection and shame were noted in both groups. Both groups of women identified limited communication and education about reproductive health and gender influences on reproductive issues as sources of fear and embarrassment about sexual issues among Latina women. 

Implications for Nursing:  Unique cultural perspectives expressed by differing Latina subgroups are quite meaningful in identifying wide variations within the Latina population.  Salient heterogeneity of attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and customs contributes to the understanding of cultural issues relevant to Latinas and their reproductive health.