Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Home Birth Emergencies in the U.S. and Mexico: The Trouble with Transport

September 21st, 2015
5:00 PM

Location
Tulane University Downtown Campus
Tidewater Building
Room 1208

The Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences invites all interested parties to attend a new Health and Inequality Seminar Series. The first seminar in the series addresses Home Birth Emergencies in the U.S. and Mexico: The Trouble with Transport. This seminar will be presented by Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, is a world-renowned medical anthropologist, international speaker and researcher in transformational models in childbirth, midwifery and obstetrics. She is author of over 80 articles and of Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992, 2004), coauthor of From Doctor to Healer: The Transformative Journey (1998) and The Power of Ritual (forthcoming 2016), and lead editor of 10 collections, the latest of which is Birth Models That Work (2009), which highlights optimal models of birth care around the world. Volume II: Birth on the Global Frontier, coedited with Betty-Anne Daviss, is in process. Her current research project studies the paradigm shifts of holistic obstetricians in Brazil. Robbie serves as Editor for the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI): 10 Steps to Optimal Maternity Care (www.imbci.org), Board Member of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO), and Senior Advisor to the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction.

Program abstract
The process of transporting a laboring mother from home to hospital can involve a collision of worldviews and belief systems as the culture of obstetrics confronts the culture of home birth midwifery. This talk analyzes such encounters through the lens provided by transport stories told by American midwives and physicians. The trouble may start with the arrival of the EMTs at the home or upon arrival at the hospital, when the midwives try to explain the client’s labor history, the reasons for the transport, and the course of action they recommend. The articulation, or lack of it, between what the midwives say and what the hospital practitioners hear and are willing to do about it often has dramatic effects on the outcome of the birth. I analyze these encounters along a spectrum of cross-cultural communicative possibilities, from fractured to smooth and even seamless articulations between home birth midwives and medical personnel.

Mexico + People
Dan M. Healan
Professor - Anthropology