Childbirth and soul loss: the case of a Hmong woman Academic Article uri icon


  • The health of a Hmong woman had been deteriorating since she underwent caesarean section. She believes that her ill health is caused by her soul leaving her body during general anaesthesia. A caesarean was essential for the survival of the fetus, but it could have been better managed. The situation might have been prevented if the cultural beliefs and practices of the Hmong had been taken into account. Nevertheless, the agreement of the hospital to a soul calling ceremony in the operating theatre and the concerns expressed by hospital staff about her well-being are positive aspects, showing that mainstream health services can provide culturally sensitive care to consumers if they are informed of these cultural beliefs and practices.

publication date

  • May 1994