Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2002


Published in Great Plains Research 12:1 (Spring 2002): 75-100. Copyright © 2002 Center for Great Plains Studies.


Migration of young Latinos and Latinas has increased in many towns in the Midwest. These young people will experience the perinatal period in a new cultural environment. We focus on the interface between families of Latino origin and the Midwest health-care system, particularly in the care of the pregnant woman or couple and in the care of the infant. Issues of culture are central in the perinatal period, and often the staff in health-care centers is not aware of the importance of several traditional and "folk" health-care beliefs in this period. These beliefs impact the care of the pregnant woman, the baby, and the couple's conception of health and illness, as well as the remedies to solve problems. We review, from the mother and infant mental and physical health point of view, the main culturally based health beliefs and precautions and the culture-bound conditions in pregnancy and for the baby.