The Role of Culture in Primiparous Puerto Rican Women's Postpartum Infant and Self-Care

Monday, 22 July 2013: 11:25 AM

Anne M. Fink, PhD, RN, CNE
Department of Nursing, Alvernia University, Reading, PA

Learning Objective 1: Describe cultural issues encountered by primiparous Puerto Rican new mothers.

Learning Objective 2: Propose culturally appropriate nursing interventions for Puerto Rican women within the maternal-infant context.

Purpose: Hispanics are a population at risk for health disparities with women receiving fewer preventive services, experiencing a higher incidence of postpartum complications, and reporting less satisfaction with the quality of care than non-Hispanic Blacks or Whites.  Puerto Ricans are in greater jeopardy of having poor health outcomes than any other Hispanic sub-group yet there have been few studies with this group.  With projected Hispanic population growth and increased health care utilization it is imperative to understand the infant care and self-care issues and experiences of primiparous Puerto Rican women in the post-partum period.

Methods: A descriptive qualitative study was conducted with twenty-two women recruited via the social network sampling method.   Participants completed a demographic information form with face and content validity.  Thirty to sixty-minute semi-structured individual interviews were conducted at community sites and continued until saturation of data was achieved.  Participants verified transcribed interviews.  Data were analyzed using content analysis.  Demographic data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.  Methods to enhance rigor and trustworthiness of the analysis were employed.  Malcolm Knowles’s Adult Learning Theory served as the framework for design and analysis.

Results: Low literacy, socioeconomic status, and access issues were significant for this group.  Significant themes related to the influence of culture and family, and dilemmas or conflict when research-based information from health professionals contrasted with culturally-influenced advice of trusted friends and family. 

Conclusion: Population growth and increased utilization of services suggests that nurses need to create innovative programming and to advocate for this cultural group’s needs.  Nurses should encourage self-efficacy in decision-making to empower Puerto Rican women to employ practices that safely incorporate evidenced-based health teaching and cultural practices into their infant care and self-care.  Increasing cultural competence is invaluable in improving health outcomes and client satisfaction measures for these clients.