Preconception Care for Having a Male Descendant: An Ethnographic Study of Indonesian Batak Women

Evi Karota, Yati Afiyanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Indonesia is still facing high maternal and infant mortalities cases, and preconception care is one of the essential interventions to prepare for a healthy pregnancy and try to avoid these cases. This ethnographic study explores how Indonesian Batak women deal with preconception care and how they perceive cultural influence in their pregnancy preparation. Semi-structured interviews with 14 Indonesian Batak women and field observations were conducted in this study. The informants were recruited purposively under specific criteria. Recorded and transcribed data were analyzed thematically. Four themes were constructed from the data: perceptions and knowledge of preconception care, rituals, family pressure to have a son, and stressful unplanned pregnancy. Batak women have some knowledge about preconception care, and families conduct cultural rituals for these women in the hope that they give birth to a son. However, when a baby boy is not coming to the family, the women suffer from stressful unplanned pregnancies. The findings show that the Batak culture supports preconception care; however, the family often has less tolerance to women’s reproductive health rights in preserving the paternal line. Health care providers, including nurses and midwives, should educate and empower the women for preconception care and contraceptive use and culturally negotiate with the family to optimally support the women’s health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
JournalPacific Rim International Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Ethnography
  • Indonesian women
  • Knowledge
  • Perception
  • Preconception Care
  • Stress
  • Unplanned pregnancy


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