Burning bridges: policy, practice, and the destruction of midwifery in rural Costa Rica
The trend toward hospitalization of birth has a long history in Costa Rica and currently approximately 98% of births take place in the clinical setting. Impoverished rural areas, like the town of Buenos Aires, lag behind national trends and only recently has birth moved from the home to the hospital. Costa Rica's midwife certification program co-opted rural midwives as bridges to biomedicalization, responsible for both pushing women into the biomedical setting and filling the gaps left by a limited national health care system. Despite the eventual illegalization of key practices and of home birth itself, local use of midwives' services continues, albeit with local demands that have transformed midwives into bridges to biomedical care in ways unanticipated by and invisible to national programmers. Midwives provide key services like prenatal massage, treatment of pregnancy crises, and attending unforeseen home births and women unable to afford the modest costs of hospitalization. Yet, midwives report increasing dissatisfaction and the desire to stop providing services in their communities. Practices like prenatal massage are in demand, but are no longer embedded in a system of local exchange that is socially and economically meaningful. Midwives blame their clientele for their dissatisfaction, but directly link these changes to the notions of professionalism, compensation, and changing community values. Thus, the social relationship between midwives and their clients must also be understood as a destructive force burning midwifery as a bridge to safe birth. In this essay, I argue that the process of both remodeling and subsequently destroying midwifery practices begun in the formal health care sector at the national level continues at the local level through changing values and meanings associated with midwives' practices.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 9 (May)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:9:p:1893-1909. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.