Childbirth Issues: Cultural Differences, Low Birth Weight & Injuries

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  • 0:03 Childbirth
  • 0:51 Cultural Differences
  • 2:33 Low Birth Weight
  • 3:31 Birth Injuries
  • 4:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Childbirth represents one of the first key moments in human development, but there are always challenges that arise with childbirth. In this lesson, we'll look at some common issues surrounding childbirth.


Bethany is a doctor who delivers babies for a living. She loves her job and loves to help mothers deliver their children into the world. But there are some downsides to her job, too. There are many issues that she faces when she goes into a delivery room.

Childbirth, or the process of delivering a baby, is an important moment. Birth marks one of the first big steps in human development, or the process of growth and change that people go through in their lives.

Bethany is lucky to be able to be with mother and child during such an important and emotional time, but as we mentioned, there are some challenges and issues that she faces every day. Let's look closer at a few of the challenges in childbirth, including cultural differences, low birth weight and birth injuries.

Cultural Differences

One challenge that Bethany faces in her delivery room is the cultural differences to the approach of childbirth. Bethany grew up in a white, middle-class, American family and many of her patients are from that same background. In her culture, it's normal for a pregnant woman to go to the hospital to deliver the baby surrounded by medical personnel. Most of the fathers are present in the delivery room with the mother as she gives birth.

But some of Bethany's patients are not from her culture, and they have other beliefs and traditions about childbirth. In many cultures, it is a big no-no for men to be present during birthing. To Bethany's Arabic, Chinese and Filipino patients (and many other cultures as well), the idea of the father being there when the baby is born is abnormal and, in some instances, unacceptable.

Likewise, some cultures do not see birth as a time for hospitals and medical personnel. Midwives, or people who are trained in assisting women in childbirth, are common in some cultures, including many African cultures. Some midwives go through formal medical training and some are trained outside of the traditional medical establishment.

For her clients that use midwives, though Bethany is used to delivering babies, she is not called in to help with the delivery. She might be used during the pregnancy to monitor and help with the health of the mother and baby, but a midwife is called in for the delivery.

Though all of these traditions are different from what Bethany is used to, she makes an effort to understand and support her patients who have different cultural practices than she does. Hospitals and medical providers should be sensitive to cultural differences when it comes to childbirth.

Low Birth Weight

Though cultural differences are important, they are not the only issue that Bethany faces when one of her patients goes into labor. One serious issue that some of Bethany's clients have to face is the problem of low birth weight.

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