Traditional neonatal care practices in Turkey

Jpn J Nurs Sci. 2013 Jun;10(1):47-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7924.2012.00209.x. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Aim: The research was conducted as a descriptive and cross-sectional study in order to identify the traditional neonatal care practices applied by women in the 15-49 year age range.

Methods: The research sample comprised 263 married mothers aged 15-49 years living in the seven health center regions in Sivas city center and agreeing to participate in the study between 7 March 2008 and 30 April 2008. In data collection, a questionnaire form devised by the researchers on the basis of expert opinion was used. The data collected were assessed by computer by means of percentage analysis and χ(2)-tests.

Results: The traditional neonatal care practices for treatment of jaundice, rash, thrush, earache, swelling in the baby's chest (milk accumulation), falling of the umbilical cord, umbilical infection, eye crust, nail cut, and temperature were examined. The most frequently conducted traditional practices were identified as rubbing swollen nipples, "making the forties" (bathing the mother and neonate in a special ritual on the 40th day postpartum), salting, using holluk (sand-filled nappy), and swaddling the baby. It was found that the mothers with low levels of education applied traditional practices like swaddling, salting, holluk, and making the forties more frequently (P<0.05).

Conclusion: According to the study findings, mothers practiced traditional applications at least once during neonatal care. It was observed that the lower the mother's educational level, the more frequent the traditional practices were applied. For this reason, neonatal healthcare services should be delivered by midwives/nurses or other healthcare workers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neonatal Nursing*
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult