The southeast Asian country of Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948 and changed its name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. With a population of 55.4 million (2006 estimate), it has a female life expectancy of 64. Myanmar has a birth rate of 17.9 per 1,000, and an infant mortality rate of 61.9 per 1,000 live births. Currently, 66.0 percent of women age 15 and older are employed.

Birthing and motherhood practices vary among the different ethnic groups that make up Myanmar; most of the groups, such as the Kachins, are patrilineal, but a few others are matrilineal. During the period of British rule—the British seized Lower Burma in 1826, and the rest of the country after two more wars in 1853 and 1886—there was ...

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