Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Pranee Liamputtong
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_510

Traditional midwives (TMs) or traditional birth attendants (TBAs) exist in most societies. Often, TMs are members of the local community and share culture and traditions with others. They also have high social standing and considerable influence on health practices of local people. More importantly, they play a vital role in pregnancy and birth in many societies. Newar women in Nepal, for example, give birth with the assistance of aji, a grandmother in local term, who can be an experienced older relative or a neighbor. For each family, there is a strong relationship between the family and a particular aji, who can be called upon whenever the birth takes place.

Lefeber and Voorhoever suggest that a TM does not just only deliver babies. Rather, she is familiar with the woman and her family. She also shares cultural ideas about the birth and the preparation of the birth with the woman. TM is knowledgeable about the traditional medicines and rituals which are required before, during, and...

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Suggested Readings

  1. Chawla, J. (2002). Hawa, gola and mother-in-law’s big toe: On understanding dais’ imagery of the female body. In S. Rozario & G. Samuel (Eds.), Daughters of Hariti: Childbirth and female healers in South and Southeast Asia (pp. 147–162). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Hoban, E. (2010). Cambodian women: Childbirth and maternity in rural Southeast Asia. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Izubara, C., Ezeh, A., & Fotso, J. C. (2009). The persistence and challenges of homebirths: Perspectives of traditional birth attendants in urban Kenya. Health Policy and Planning, 24, 36–45.Google Scholar
  4. Lefeber, Y., & Voorhoever, H. (1997). Practices and beliefs of traditional birth attendants: Lessons for obstetrics in the North? Tropical Medicine & International Health, 2(1), 1175–1179.Google Scholar
  5. Liamputtong, P. (2007). The journey of becoming a mother amongst Thai women in northern Thailand. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  6. Liamputtong, P. (2007). Situating reproduction, procreation and motherhood within a cross-cultural context: An introduction. In P. Liamputtong (Ed.), Reproduction, childbearing and motherhood: A cross-cultural perspective (pp. 3–34). New York: Nova Science.Google Scholar
  7. Smid, M., Campero, L., Gragin, L., Hernandez, D. G., & Walker, D. (2010). Bringing two worlds together: Exploring the integration of traditional midwives as doulas in Mexican public hospitals. Health Care for Women International, 31, 475–498.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. World Health Organization. (1978). Alma-Ata 1978 primary health care. Alma-Ata: World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pranee Liamputtong
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia