The experiences of postpartum hospital stay and returning home among Thai mothers in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To describe the experience of postpartum care among Thai women in Melbourne, Australia. DESIGN:Ethnographic interviews and participant observation with women in relation to postpartum care and practices. SETTING:Melbourne Metropolitan Area, Victoria, Australia. PARTICIPANTS:26 Thai born women who gave birth in Australia. FINDINGS:The Thai women had varying views about the length of time they should spend in hospital and the care they received. Ten of the twelve women who had had a caesarean birth stayed in hospital for six or more days, consistent with the hospital practice. However, most of those who had had a vaginal delivery opted to go home earlier than the standard hospital practice of four days stay. This was because they were unhappy about specific hospital practices, the hospital environment, or because there are several Thai confinement customs, which, traditionally, a new mother must observe in order to maintain good health and avoid future ill health and which they were not able to follow in hospital. Nevertheless, most women were satisfied with their postpartum care. Most women were aware of the Thai cultural beliefs and practices. However, they showed varying ways of coping with the hospital environment in relation to their varying social situations. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:Thai women are diverse in their needs, perceptions and experience of postpartum care. Therefore, it is appropriate neither to stereotype all Thai women as requiring to follow traditional confinement practices nor to require them to adjust to standard hospital practices. Rather an environment of caring concern whereby each woman's individual needs can be solicited, understood and, where possible, attended to as required. The challenge is in achieving this.

publication date

  • March 1999