Title

CHILDBIRTH IN RURAL KOREA: DELIVERY PATTERNS AND PROCESSES

Date of Completion

January 1986

Keywords

Anthropology, Cultural

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Childbirth patterns in rural Korea are examined as a model for the study of changes in health care practices and behaviors in a situation where the introduction of "modern" alternatives affect traditional health practices. Multi-dimensional loglinear models are used to explain diversity found in childbirth patterns in a district where improvements in communication and transportation have provided alternatives to traditional home childbirth. Differences between material and ideational factors are noted in an explanatory model for the two main patterns of childbirth locations.^ Ethnographic research and structured interviews (administered retrospectively to all women in the district giving birth in 1983) indicate considerable modification in the "Western" model of childbirth and that traditional beliefs about birth continue to be important even among those who adopt new practices. Risk assessment and the woman's educational level are major factors in the determination of childbirth location in the model, with economic considerations as secondary factors. The data indicate that an increase in educational levels of women in rural areas has given women more control over decisions concerning childbirth. ^