oa South African Family Practice - Ethics and the law relating to post-birth rituals : ethics CPD article

Volume 55, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Placental rituals and other birth-by rituals are common in various societies. They often include culturally determined behavioural sequences which operate as anxiety-releasing mechanisms. They also serve to offer a spiritual means of "control" over the future health and welfare of mother, child, and even the community. As long as such rituals do not cause harm, they should be respected for the role that they play and be left alone. This article discusses the ethical and legal considerations regarding post-birth rituals and their relevance to South Africa, with special reference to the South African Human Tissue Act.

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