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Pregnancy and Childbearing in Aceh, Indonesia: An Ethnographic Study

Abdul Manan

Published: 2021/09/01


This study describes the pregnancy and childbearing rituals of the Acehnese people living in South Aceh, Indonesia. It was done as an ethnographic study to reveal the sequence of rituals along with their traditional meanings and modern medical considerations. The data were collected by field observation, interviews, and document studies. Miles and Huberman’s theory — data reduction, data display, and conclusion drawing — brought the result that among the people living in that area, the period of pregnancy was accompanied by several traditions and rituals while labor and childbirth were usually assisted by a traditional midwife. Several traditions like avoidance of certain foods, bringing ceunicah (fruit salad), cutting the umbilical cord, bathing the baby, burying the placenta, and warming the mother were also observed after childbearing. Those rituals served specific meanings within the Acehnese community in South Aceh. Although some rituals, for example cutting the umbilical cord and warming the mother, had medical implications, people still practice them for the sake of preserving the tradition. Key Words: Pregnancy; Ritual; Childbearing; Aceh; Indonesia

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