Whilst Korean women drink seaweed soup after giving birth, immigrant wives have shown an aversion to this dish that is not part of the postnatal diet of their homeland. New mothers in China usually drink sugared water and eat millet porridge and chicken soup, in Vietnam soup is avoided as it is thought to result in a potbelly and boiled meat is usually consumed. In Thailand, the custom is to shave off the hair of month-old babies to signify good health.
Seoul accounts for the country’s second highest rate of international marriages with 50,000 immigrant wives (22% of national total) living in the city. With 3,800 births (National Statistical Office) in 2011, mostly to young first year immigrants in the first year with an average age 25.1, customized support for this group is needed.
To address this issue, Seoul City announced in February 2013, plans to launch a “Post and Pre Natal Care Program for Immigrant Wives” to provide customized services to multicultural families which will cater to the different postnatal practices of the homelands of immigrant wives. Targeting not only immigrant wives but also their spouses and in-laws, this program will provide customized aftercare program and information on pregnancy, birth and childcare.
Firstly, “Aftercare Monitoring” involves surveying immigrant wives who are experienced mothers and their spouses from 120 families (240 people) on the understanding of pregnancy, birth and childcare information, healthcare and health education services. Plans for the “Aftercare Program” will be drawn up based on results of the survey. These plans will be refined after operations of the Aftercare Center (tentative) are tested at a Multicultural Family Support Center.
The program catering to the varied needs of multicultural families will encompass Prenatal Healthcare (prenatal check, health screening, prenatal education, etc.) and Health Education (expectant mother healthcare, infant care, etc.), and Postnatal Healthcare (medical checkup, postnatal exercise, vaccination information, etc.) and Health Education (education on postnatal care for mothers, infant care education, etc).