Family Support and Pregnancy Behavior among Women in Two Border Mexican Cities

Leticia E. Fernández, Alison Newby

Idioma original



Given that, on average, immigrant Mexican women in the United States have relatively low socioeconomic status, researchers have sought explanations for their favorable pregnancy outcomes. Strong family support in the Mexican culture has been proposed as a contributing factor that is protective of maternal and child health. However, family support may not be determined exogenously. Complex associations may exist between family support, the circumstances of a pregnancy, and whether the pregnancy was planned or welcomed. In this article, we present findings from a qualitative exploratory study among pregnant women in two Mexican border cities.

The goals of this article are to examine the extent to which family and partner support are provided to pregnant women in the Mexican culture, whether such support appears to influence their health-promoting behaviors during pregnancy, and the circumstances under which such support is denied to women. Findings suggest that women who do not cohabit with the baby’s father predating their pregnancy are less likely to welcome the pregnancy and to receive family support. The influence of family support on maternal behavior and health was stronger among primiparous women than among women who have had a previous pregnancy.

Apoyo familiar y comportamiento durante el embarazo
entre mujeres de dos ciudades mexicanas fronterizas


Dado que, en promedio, el nivel socioeconómico de las mujeres inmigrantes mexicanas en Estados Unidos es relativamente bajo, investigadores han tratado de explicar el alto porcentaje de nacimientos que presentan. Se ha propuesto que la presencia de un fuerte apoyo familiar en la cultura mexicana es uno de los factores que protegen la salud materna e infantil. Sin embargo, es posible que el apoyo familiar no se genere de forma exógena. Pueden existir asociaciones complejas entre el apoyo familiar, las circunstancias en que ocurre el embarazo, y si éste fue planeado o bien recibido. En este artículo presentamos los resultados de un estudio cualitativo exploratorio que se condujo entre mujeres embarazadas en dos ciudades fronterizas mexicanas.

Los objetivos de este artículo fueron examinar hasta qué punto la familia y la pareja proporcionan apoyo a mujeres embarazadas en la cultura mexicana, si tal apoyo parece influir en comportamientos que pudieran afectar la salud durante el embarazo, y las circunstancias en que ese apoyo se les niega a las mujeres. Los resultados sugieren que las mujeres que no cohabitan con el padre del bebé antes del embarazo tienen menor tendencia a desear el embarazo y reciben menos apoyo familiar. La influencia del apoyo familiar sobre el comportamiento y la salud materna fue más fuerte entre las mujeres primíparas que entre las mujeres que han tenido embarazos anteriormente.

Keywords: Mexico;U.S.-Mexico border;unintended pregnancy;family support;pregnancy behaviors

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