Traditional postpartum care : alloparenting from an evolutionary perspective
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] This dissertation focuses on traditional postpartum care and its variation across different human populations using an evolutionary framework. Whereas traditional healthcare may have been geared towards ensuring mother and infant recovery by keeping them from contact with outsiders, postpartum care in modern societies is often relatively neglected. In a discursive review article, I consider whether hot-cold theory in traditional medicine is, in effect, the practice of temperature management and suggest further explorations of traditional practice. The first body of the dissertation addresses further evolutionary theories, which are related to broader knowledge of human reproduction and alloparenting. In a cross-cultural comparison of traditional postpartum care, this dissertation utilized quantified codes from the Standard Cross Cultural Samples. It investigates variation in cultural practices using previously accumulated ethnographic records, finding cross-cultural variation across different regions. It also examines the cultural phylogeny of the variables related to traditional care practices, demonstrating regional overrepresentation of temperature management during postpartum care. In order to enhance our understanding of the current practice of traditional postpartum care in modern settings, this dissertation conducted a set of surveys based on a questionnaire and follow-up interview, and found how much the participants adhere to traditional postpartum care, which traditional practices are still valued, what benefits traditional practices might produce, and how the future of such practices are perceived. In a comparative review, the results were compared with other regional practices of Asian hot-cold theory practices including those found in Thai, Taiwan and rural China. Further synthetic studies of cross-cultural comparison are suggested as an area for future work.
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