Case study: Jay and Sue Kim, ages 29 and 26 years and married for 2 years, immigrated from South Korea and settled in Los Angeles. They have lived in a small one-bedroom apartment since their arrival. Both graduated from the same Korean university with baccalaureate degrees in English literature. They have one child, Joseph, age 1 year. When they arrived in the United States, Jay was unable to find a job because of his poor proficiency in English, despite his major in English literature. He eventually obtained a job with a moving company through a church friend. Sue is not working because of their son. Although the Kim’s did not attend a church before immigration, they are now regularly attending a Korean Protestant church in their neighborhood.
Sue is pregnant again, determined by a home pregnancy kit, with their second child and concerned about the medical costs. They did not use any contraceptives because she was breastfeeding. Because of financial limitations, Sue did not initially have prenatal care with her first pregnancy. However, she did keep up with the Korean traditional prenatal practice, tae-kyo. Eventually, she received help from her church and delivered a healthy son. She is not sure whether she can get financial help from her church again but is confident that her second child will be healthy if she follows the Korean traditional prenatal practices.
Jay is concerned about job security because he recently heard from colleagues that the moving company might soon go bankrupt. Although Jay has not been satisfied with his current job (he thinks that he is overqualified), this news is still a cause for concern. Moreover, Sue’s recent pregnancy has made Jay more stressed, and he has started drinking alcohol. Joseph cannot stand up by himself and still wants to be breastfed. Although Sue has tried to give foods such as oranges, apples, steamed rice, and milk (because she is now pregnant), Joseph refuses to eat them and cries for breastfeeding. Joseph’s weight is low-normal for same-age babies.
1. Describe the Korean cultural practice tae-kyo. Is this practice congruent with allopathic recommendations for prenatal care?
2. How do food choices among Koreans differ with pregnancy and postpartum?
3. Describe cultural attitudes toward drinking among Koreans.
4. Identify two or three culturally congruent strategies a healthcare provider might use to address Jay’s drinking.
SOLUTION TO THE CASE STUDY
- Describe the Korean cultural practice Tae-Kyo. Is this practice congruent with allopathic recommendations for prenatal care?
In most cases, culture strongly influences women’s perceptions of healthcare, and this prenatal education plays an important role in shaping childbirth experiences. In the Tae-Kyo tradition, a fetus is considered an individual from the time of conception. The tradition directs that expectant mothers should be reading subjects like English and Math as well as listening to classical music to stabilize their emotional state (Pumell and Fenki, 2019). The tradition believes that there is a need to stimulate a child’s brain and thus directs women to eat healthily. It is also related to the need for an omen to take only healthy beverage drinks and avoidance of medicine unless the medicine is considered essential. The culture supports the need for prenatal care, especially on the practices meant to enhance the wellness of both the mother and child. Mothers should seek the doctor’s advice before starting and stopping any medication. The practice is congruent with allopathic recommendations for prenatal care.
- How do food choices among Koreans differ with pregnancy and postpartum?
The culture-specific foods that mothers should take while pregnant and other recommended foods after giving birth. Korean women are encouraged to eat food during pregnancy, including mixed grain rice, which is believed to have a higher amount of fiber than the regular price. The women are forbidden from taking alcoholic drinks during this period and are not supposed to take raw fish. The women are not allowed to eat fatty foods during the period. Other foods that are allowed for pregnant women include fruits, vegetables, and sweet potatoes, which are believed to provide energy and fiber. The women can eat seaweed to help them obtain iodine during pregnancy. At postpartum, seaweed is recommended to help the women shed extra weight, lessen inflammation, and decrease insulin levels (Kim et al., 2019). Other foods after delivery include fish, pumpkin porridge, Kimchee, and lean meat. The mother’s nutritional requirements are an important determinant of the foods that women eat during and after pregnancy.
- Describe cultural attitudes toward drinking among Koreans.
The Korean culture is receptive to drinking, but there are specific guidelines that are encouraged. Evening social drinking is highly regarded in the culture as a way of discouraging unaccompanied drinking that is common in various parts of the world (Park et al., 2020). The attitudes and practices on alcohol are distinct between men and women in Korean culture. The men are allowed to drink regularly and take any amount of alcohol, unlike women, who are discouraged from regular drinking, and their alcohol intake has to be retained in small quantities.
- Identify two or three culturally congruent strategies a healthcare provider might use to address Jay’s drinking.
Considering jay’s drinking, it is pertinent for a healthcare provider to be fully aware of the Korean cultural attitudes and perceptions n drinking. It is the best way to help Jay drink responsibly and, at the same time, condole the cultural values of Jay’s community. The healthcare practitioner must understand the social setting of the community and how alcohol is regarded to help develop a better plan to help with jay’s drinking. The second culturally congruent strategy is the application of the ASHA resources that would help guide on how best to be culturally sensitive and respectful to the Korean culture when giving Jay tips on how to drink responsibly. The practice Portal resource can be effective when advising on the consequences of drinking alcohol on his health and his family.
Kim, H., Lee, H. N., & Ha, J. (2019). Association high-iodine-containing seaweed soup consumption after birth and subclinical hypothyroidism in Korean women: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV (2013–2015). International Journal of Thyroidology, 12(2), 105-112. https://doi.org/10.11106/ijt.2019.12.2.105
Park, J. M., Sohn, A., & Choi, C. (2020). Solitary and social drinking in South Korea: An exploratory study. Osong public health and research perspectives, 11(6), 365. https://doi.org/10.24171%2Fj.phrp.2020.11.6.04
Purnell, L. D., & Fenkl, E. A. (2019). People of Korean heritage. In Handbook for Culturally Competent Care (pp. 255-262). Springer, Cham.
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