Birth Care Belief Practices: Traditional Mother–Child Care during Birth in Rural Punjab, Pakistan



birthing rituals, belief practices , mother–child care, folk Islam, magical thinking


This article analyses the birth care beliefs practiced in a Punjabi village. Birth care is an important practice that ensures a safe and uncomplicated birth for both mother and child. The study presents an in-depth exploration of the human–divine connection and its symbolic manifestation in birth care rituals in rural Muslim communities. Utilising unstructured interviews with midwives, mothers, elderly women, and an imam, the research sheds light on the essential role of religious prayers, Quran recitation, charity, as well simulative imagery and amulets within the cultural care system of rural Punjab. Words, symbols, objects, and symbolic expressions emerge as powerful tools in facilitating faith healing and enhancing its perceived efficacy. The research deepens our understanding of the faith-based birth care process and highlights the essential interdependence of the human–divine connection and symbolic expression (manifestation of belief) within faith-based birth care practices.


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