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Benjamin Gomez

Korean Culture on Pregnancy Presentation

Kapiolani Community College

NURS 320 Maternity


Korean Beliefs on Pregnancy

While doing my research about the Korean culture I found that the beliefs and traditions

are similar to other Asian countries. Throughout Korean history and culture the traditional beliefs

of Korean Shamanism, Mahayana Buddhism and Confucianism has continues to be a strong

influence of the religion of the Korean people as well as essential to their culture. Korean culture

puts an emphasis on family. Koreans follow the teachings of Confucius such as the belief that

only a country where family life was harmonious could be peaceful and prosperous. When

researching about the Korean culture, I found information on the pregnancy beliefs, labor and

delivery beliefs, and postpartum beliefs.


The traditional belief in Korea was that a women would know she would soon be

pregnant when she had a conception dream Tae Mong. If a married woman dreams of a sleek,

shimmery snake slithering into her arms or herself receiving a big fresh peach from a stranger as

a gift, she will soon become pregnant (Knudson). Once the women finds out she is pregnant, the

first person she tells is her mother-in-law, then her husband and then her mother. Therefore

during her pregnancy the women can expect assistance from her family.

Koreans have a strong tradition involving pre-natal care called Tae-Kyo, which is

education of an unborn child. Tae-Kyo is the belief that there are multiple aspects when it comes

to pregnancy (Kim). Pregnant women should be careful about what they consume, balance their

emotions, and receive support from family members and communities. Soon to be moms are

encouraged to eat healthy, look at beautiful things, listen to calming music, and speak to the


Labor and Delivery

In the Korean culture the women in labor is expected to show no signs of pain. Being

loud during the birth is viewed with shame, so a women must be silent throughout the birthing

process, silence helps the women to focus all their energy into the birth (Nagata). Traditionally in

previous times most women do not accept any pain reliefs, instead they tend to use

aromatherapy, acupressure and music to reduce both the pain and the anxiety about the pain, but

in modern times it has become more acceptable. The women in labor would be tended to by her

mother-in-law, her mother and sister-in-law who already have children, while the father is in a

separate room. In western culture it is acceptable to eat ice ships after an epidural, in the Korean

culture however it is inappropriate to eat cold things during and after delivery (Kim). Most

women in Korea give birth by the way of a cesarean because they do not ask their doctors to let

them have a vaginal birth. According to Sung-Hoon Chung (2014) the rise of cesarean births can

be attributed to an improvement in socio-economic status, a higher maternal age, a rise in

multiple pregnancies, and maternal obesity.


After the birth it is customary to have a lying-in period called San-ho-jori,

during this period the mom is tended to by her relatives. The first three weeks postpartum

women should limit their physical activities (Nagata), a straw rope would be tied to the

doorframe of the house to indicate that there is a newborn in the house, this lets people know that

for 21-100 days they would stay away. Traditionally the first meal a mother has is seaweed soup,

due to its healthful properties, some mothers have it up to three times a day. Cold situations are

avoided such as not putting feet or hands into cold water or going outside, and partial baths are


Infant care and Feeding

In the Korean culture some parents do not name their baby right after birth. It is a belief

that the newborn must have a good name so that their child can live a happy and successful life.

The father-in-law would name the baby with the name carrying a "wish" for the childs life. It is

common for Korean women to carry their children on their back piggyback with the babys

face against her back, this position aligns the hearts of the mother and newborn. The newborn is

bundled up even in the summer to prevent from catching a cold. In Korea it is a common

practice for parents to sleep with the child. It is customary to celebrate the newborns 100th day,

during this day people eat red bean cake for good luck, and dress the baby in traditional Korean



To conclude Korean culture has its own view on childbirth. It is important for nurses,

especially those who are labor and delivery nurses to have some knowledge of other cultures

because it shows that you respect their culture and beliefs and are willing to tend to their needs. I

think that it is particularly important for nurses to have an understanding or at least being open

minded to other culture beliefs because there are some many different cultures here in Hawaii. In

clinical I have taken care of 4 women with different cultures and I found it helpful to

accommodate their beliefs so the delivery and post-partum care go smoothly as possible.


Childbirth Customs - South-Korea - korea4expats. (2014). Retrieved December 05, 2016,


Chung, S.-H., Seol, H.-J., Choi, Y.-S., Oh, S., Kim, A., & Bae, C.-W. (2014). Changes in

the Cesarean Section Rate in Korea (1982-2012) and a Review of the Associated Factors. Journal

of Korean Medical Science, 29(10), 13411352.

Kim, Y. (2015). Conceptualizing Prenatal Care: Recent Research and the Application of

Tae-Kyo, Korean Traditional Beliefs and Practices. Health Care for Women International, 36(1),

26-40. doi:10.1080/07399332.2014.888719

Nagata, L. (2014) Traditions of pregnancy and Hot Bath Ceremonies in South Korea and

Palau. Retrieved December 5, 2016, from