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Frontera norte

On-line version ISSN 2594-0260Print version ISSN 0187-7372


FERNANDEZ, Leticia E.  and  NEWBY, Alison. Family Support and Pregnancy Behavior among Women in Two Border Mexican Cities. Frontera norte [online]. 2010, vol.22, n.43, pp.07-34. ISSN 2594-0260.

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 amongprimiparous women than among women who have had a previous pregnancy.

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

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