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J Transcult Nurs. 2003 Apr;14(2):117-24.

Come bien, camina y no se preocupe--eat right, walk, and do not worry: selective biculturalism during pregnancy in a Mexican American community.

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  • 1Oregon Health and Science University, USA.


Mexican American childbearing women appear to offer a healthy model for pregnancy. However, statistics suggest that they may be at increased risk for poor birth outcome as they acculturate to a U.S. lifestyle. An ethnographic study in Watsonville, California, examined the influence of acculturation on pregnancy beliefs and practices of 29 Mexican American childbearing women. Data from formal semi-structured interviews were submitted to content analysis. During pregnancy, women balanced well-documented, traditional Mexican cultural beliefs with the individualistic beliefs common to Anglo-Americans. Selective biculturalism emerged as a protective approach to stress reduction and health promotion. Stress reduction interventions as part of routine prenatal care have potential benefit for all pregnant women. Future research on cultural barriers to family-based social support during pregnancy is needed.

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