cultural competency, India, parturition, women


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study is to describe the perceptions of childbearing women living in Tamil Nadu, India. This study can increase cultural understanding and foster cultural competence in nurses caring for Indian women.

Study Design and Methods: Women were invited to share their childbearing experiences. Following institutional review board approval, interviews were held with 22 women who had given birth in the previous 18 months to a viable infant. The women were grateful for the opportunity to share their perspectives with an interested nurse investigator. Data collection proceeded concurrently with data analysis. Themes were generated collaboratively by the research team.

Results: This research provides insights into the perspectives of mothers living in Tamil Nadu, India. Themes included anticipating becoming a mother, following the advice of mothers-in-law and other “wise” women, fear of childbirth related to lack of knowledge, and valuing support during labor and birth. Others included having the greater blessing of giving birth to a son, making the transition to motherhood, following postpartum rituals/ceremonies, and having a desire to give their child the best that life circumstances allow.

Clinical Implications: Nurses should be sensitive to the social determinants of health, which frame giving birth. Listening to the voices of women is helpful in guiding clinical practice. Understanding of childbirth practices in culturally diverse women is essential. Potentially harmful practices can be changed through appropriate educational offerings.

Original Publication Citation

Corbett, C., & Callister, L.C. (2012). Giving Birth: The voices of women in Tamil Nadu, India. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 37(5), 2-9.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor