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Religions 2019, 10(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020082

Religion and Spirituality in Pregnancy and Birth: The Views of Birth Practitioners in Southeast Nigeria

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, 24 D’Olier Street, D02 T283 Dublin, Ireland
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Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2019 / Accepted: 23 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
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Abstract

Religion and spirituality have been acknowledged as crucial aspects of health and wellbeing. Nigeria, the most populous African country, is a multi-religious society where plural health systems (traditional and modern) co-exist. Religion is part of everyday conversation within the country and traditional healthcare providers are believed to have spiritual healing powers. Correspondingly, Nigerian women in their quest for a meaningful and comprehensive maternity care experience continue to use the plural health systems during the pregnancy birth continuum. Drawing from data collected through interviewing midwives (n = 7) and traditional birth attendants (n = 5), this paper explored the place of religion and spirituality within maternity care in the context of Igbo-Nigeria, through the lens of hermeneutic-phenomenology. Ethical approval was granted by relevant institutions and consent was obtained from each participant prior to the interviews. The findings revealed divergent views of the birth practitioners, influenced on one hand by conventional Western scientific ways of thinking, and on the other hand by traditional/cultural orientation. Healthcare professionals’ views on the place of religion and spirituality within maternity care in Igbo-Nigeria reflect societal norms, impacting either positively or negatively on women’s needs for a meaningful maternity care experience. In order to improve women’s satisfaction with their pregnancy and birth experience, it is important for the healthcare providers to pay attention to and reflect on their own religious and spiritual belief systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; spirituality; pregnancy and childbirth; cultural practices; Nigeria religion; spirituality; pregnancy and childbirth; cultural practices; Nigeria
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ohaja, M.; Murphy-Lawless, J.; Dunlea, M. Religion and Spirituality in Pregnancy and Birth: The Views of Birth Practitioners in Southeast Nigeria. Religions 2019, 10, 82.

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