Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Dr. Ruth Zielinski

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Lagerwey

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Stark


OBJECTIVE: To explore prevalence of pregnancy related folklore beliefs by conducting a survey of CM/CNMs in the United States. Research questions included: What folklore beliefs are most commonly encountered by nurse-midwives? Does the prevalence of folklore beliefs differ by geography? Does the type of folklore beliefs differ by the ethnicity and culture of the nurse-midwifery clientele?

METHODS: After IRB and ACNM approval, a geographically diverse sample of 1,000 active CM/CNM members was sent an invitation email. The survey was developed following a literature review to include 12 pregnancy beliefs. Responders were asked to rate how frequently they heard each (never-I, seldom-2, occasionally-3, frequently-4), and whether that particular belief was more common among a certain ethnic/racial group. Participants were asked to provide years and location of midwifery practice. Space was provided for comments.

RESULTS: Response rate was 20% (n=CM/CNMs) Mean years of midwifery practice was 15.8 and response rates were distributed across the four US regions (22.8% NE, 21.8% MW, 29.7% South and 24.8% West). Prevalence of beliefs did not differ by region. Six beliefs were more prevalent on preliminary analysis: how you are carrying predicts the sex of the baby, fetal heart rate predicts sex of the baby, a full moon will start labor, "mother had a long/quick labor so I will too", and heart burn = full head of hair. Participants reported hearing most pregnancy beliefs from clients of a variety of races/ethnicities.

CONCLUSIONS: Non-judgmental acceptance of patient and family and the importance of valuing tradition and culture in "modern;" healthcare are 'central to the values of holistic healthcare. Findings provide insigl1t' into common pregnancy beliefs and how providers can educate their clients in regard to these beliefs.


Honors thesis contains three video files from the presentation.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

VTS_01_0.VOB (38264 kB)
Presentation Video