Pregnancy and Superstitions: a Study on Filipino Beliefs and Practices on Pregnancy

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Introduction

Superstitious beliefs or superstitions are considered to be irrational beliefs about an object or action considered to influence the consequences of an event although the object or action and the event do not relate to each other.

Asians have been famous for their superstitious beliefs and practices. They are also known for passing these traditional beliefs from generation to generation. The Philippines, being an Asian country, has maintained and passed on a lot of customary beliefs that are being practiced by their ancestors. These practices may be based on religious beliefs, opinions, and/or real-life experiences of those who share it. These superstitious beliefs portray how people view the unknown and its means to appease the gods who controls the future. (Sta. Romana-Cruz, 1996)

There is a very great number of folk beliefs Filipinos carry starting from birth, to childhood and adolescence, to wedding, and even death. Filipino terms used for superstitious beliefs are paniniwala, kasabihan ng mga matatanda, and pamahiin. These beliefs tend to talk about life, family, luck, wealth, and health and one of the talked-about’s is women’s reproductive health during and after pregnancy. (Sta. Romana-Cruz, 1996)

One of the awaited stages of a woman’s life is their reproduction. Not only it is being excitingly anticipated, it is also the most susceptible part with regards to a woman’s health. Families, especially husbands and parents give their all-out care and support to the woman who is pregnant. Pregnant women seek for advices from doctors, elderly, and those who have experienced it and have been successful in overcoming it, about how they will have a normal delivery and a healthy baby. However, advices coming from the elderly and those who experienced it are most often than not considered to be superstitious but it still remain to be very influential to those who are pregnant, those around her and to those who are about to enter the stage of reproduction.

Filipinos have a great number of suppositions and these beliefs, whether superstitious or not, has an effect to each of their thoughts and actions in some ways. The main focus of this study is to determine the effects of these superstitious beliefs and how it affects a person’s thinking and action. The study also aims to know the extent to which a person will follow these beliefs and pass it on to others as well as its practical and theoretical implications.

Method

Approach:
The classic Filipino method, Pagtatanong-tanong
Interaction with groups of people in their natural setting

Data Generation:
Conducted last August 8, 2008, Friday afternoon
Pagtatanong-tanong was conducted along Fidel A. Reyes St, Manila

Participants:
Researchers were able to interact with a total of eight people from the community •3 different groups of people living in the community
Participants’ ages range from twenty-two to forty-six years old •7 out of 8 participants were female living with at least one child, while the male is a bachelor

Data Analysis:
The researchers extracted data strands from the transcribed interview and developed categories that have been observed to be repeating or creating a pattern with the help of NVivo software.

Results

The researchers developed series of categories from the data strands of the transcribed interview. Ten categories were found to be helpful and relevant to the study and these categories are: beliefs in pregnancy superstitions, common beliefs, origin of beliefs, sharing of beliefs, reactions, way of thinking, surrounding or environmental differences, urban versus rural areas, doctors versus ancestors, and generation differences.

Beliefs in pregnancy superstitions is defined in such a way that the participant fully agrees and supposes these superstitious beliefs during pregnancy, agrees to some beliefs while questions other superstitions, or do not believe on pregnancy...
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