Objective: This study was conducted to investigate traditional beliefs and practices of women regarding care of the mother and the infant during pregnancy, in childbirth, and in the postpartum period.
Methods: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted at a public hospital in Istanbul. The data collected consisted of socio-demographic and obstetric characteristics, and responses to questions about some traditional customs regarding pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period.
Results: In our research, some non-harmful cultural practices were found, such as the belief that to have a clever and beautiful baby the mother should eat fruit; that to have a healthy and peaceful pregnancy, the mother should not look upon ugly things; the mother should indulge her food cravings; and to have an easy birth, the mother should walk and focus on prayers. On the other hand, we also found beliefs that could be harmful, such as wiping the mouth of a baby with a date before breastfeeding, and practices believed to be protective that could cause harm, such as putting a knife under the baby’s bed, fastening a safety pin to the baby’s clothes, and for the mother and child to remain at home for 40 days.
Conclusion: While non-harmful and beneficial practices related to maternal and infant health should be accepted and supported as a part of our cultural richness, practices that could be harmful should be prevented in pregnancy classes or with training upon hospital discharge.