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Iranian culture/traditions concerning childbirth
1 (a web visitor)

I am a nursing student in Salisbury,MD. I am doing a nursing teaching project on Iran in reference to birthing customs/ traditions. I have narrowed my research to Intrapartum/Postpartum.

Questions that I have are; What causes labor? This would pertain to any beliefs that may induce a labor; such as , the mother not resting enough, or being left alone.

How does one behave during labor? Are birthing mom's expected to be quite or express their pain?

How do Iranian women respond to pain? Are any medications used during labor for pain controll?

Where does delivery take place? At home? Hospital?

What general behavior of the mother is expected?

Are there any restrictions on food or activity?

What is the role of the father/family members?

I have searched many, many web sights looking under Persian, Iranian, Shiite, and Farsi. I have had no luck in this area. I do understand how personal the nature of this subject is and contribute this to my lack of finding information. I have tried also under family and culture. I am upset because it is almost as if Iran does not exist. I enjoy your culture very much. My best friend is from Tehran. I have asked her these questions, but some she is not sure about, she has not had children yet. Any help you could give me I would be most grateful. Thank you in advance...


2 (a madar)

I had both my children here in US so don't have a good knowledge of what is going on during labor . But base on previous experiences back in Iran when my cousins were expecting babies , I know that a pregnant woman was very important in our family . We would not eat anything before it was offered to the expectant mom . My mom used to cook what ever food they were craving or even thinking about . I remember my mom one day asking our neighbor for some of their dinner because my cousin could smell the food and was craving for it without even knowing what it was . Our neighbor was delighted about that request and gave her half the dinner !

3 (a madar)

My mom has had all her children in squatting position, with her hands on the shoulders of the midwife. There would be a tray of fresh ashes (for sanitary purposes) under her where the midwife would receive the baby.

4 (a madar)

In Iranian culture, a pregnant woman has special respect and:

-a woman's sins will be forgiven after a childbirth (because the pain is so sever that could be considered a punishment for any crime!)

-a woman should not be left alone after childbirth for a while, or "Aal" would eat her liver. The rational behind it is that a woman after childbirth is too weak and shall not be left alone because of chances of hemorrhage.

-special foods such as "kaachi" would be given to her after childbirth.

-she would be given a special bath with a lengthy massage! and there would be a special ceremony of bathing the baby after the naval is healed. (usually the 10th day after childbirth).

5 (a madar)

I had my first child here in U.S and the second one is on the way (any day or minute) so I don't have any personal experience as far as the pregnancy, labor, and delivery in Iran. However, I remember when my sister and my cousins were pregnant. As far as I know, in Iran pregnant women get extra and special attention from the family and friends. They're not to be worried about anything. Everybody else is in their service. God forbid if a pregnant woman mentions a type of food even if she is not craving it, somebody will cook or prepare it for her. If it's the woman's first child, her family provide and set the baby room with all the necessities, and that's beside all the other gifts that everybody else will bring after the baby is born. In Iran they really do shower the new mom and baby with all kinds of gifts and attentions. As for the labor and delivery time, I remember when it was time for my sister to deliver her baby, she was in Tehran and she was taken to the women's hospital (forgot the name) and in there she got all the proper care to deliver her baby and after the delivery she was kept in the hospital for almost 48 hours. The family and friends' help and attention to the new mom and baby continues until everybody's sure the mother is well enough to be on her own. This is something that some of us who are away from our family miss a great deal in here!

6 (a web visitor)

Hi- I'm an RN in a Bachelor's completion program and am doing a similar srudy but broader. What do you have? I recall about ten years ago taking care of a laboring mom who was from the Middle East or India. She of course was accompanied by a number of female family members. She brought with her what looked like a large wooden pinecone which was tightly closed. The family asked for a bowl of water to place under her bed. They placed this "flower" in the water and explained to me that when the flower opened, the baby would come! I was skeptical but delighted when, indeed, the flower completely opened about 24 hrs. later just shortly b4 the baby was delivered. Did you find any information on anything like this? Thanks for your help.

Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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