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Childbirth and Women s Reproductive Health in the Czech Republic

HREŠANOVÁ, E. Childbirth and Women s Reproductive Health in the Czech Republic. Chapel Hill, USA, 2009.
Jazyk publikace: eng
Anglický název: Childbirth and Women s Reproductive Health in the Czech Republic
Rok vydání: 2009
Autoři: Mgr. Ema Hrešanová
Abstrakt EN: Background: This paper builds on the social studies of (human) reproduction, in particular on the anthropology of childbirth, and employs a social constructivist perpective. It focuses on women?s reproductive health in the Czech Republic. Objectives: There have been significant changes in the area of birth and health care during a last decade, which closely relate to the market-driven principles recently introduced to the health care system and to a rising role of consumerism. These changes led to a diversification of birth care services and to growing social inequalities among birthing women, which manifest themselves during the course of childbirth. Surprisingly and in contradiction to many well-known theories about the relation of health and socio-economic status, the midwives and obstetricians whom I interviewed however, believe that women with higher SES give birth ?worse? than working class women. The main aim of my paper is to provide several ?native? interpretations of this phenomenon and to put them into the context of wider changes of the Czech birthing system. Methods: This paper builds on 20-months-long ethnographic research in two maternity hospitals in the Czech Republic, which I conducted from 2004 to 2007. I employed several research methods: participant observation in various parts of the maternity hospitals and during antenatal classes, indepth non-structured as well as semi-structured interviews with midwives, obstetricians and birthing women, and the study of available documents (birth registers, chronicles etc.) Results: According to the midwives and obstetricians I interviewed, primiparas with higher SES who incline to have natural childbirth have more difficulties during labor and delivery than other women. While the personnel believe that these women are ?obstructed? by pain and by the lack of their bodily experience with childbirth, some of these women assume that the cause of these difficulties consists in insufficient respect from the part of the personnel and insufficient fullfillment of their demands, which are often in contradiction with the medical model of childbirth. Conclusion Although there have been significant changes and improvements in the Czech birthing system during last years, I conclude that these changes have not gone far enough since there are still women who feel disempowered and have difficulties to enforce their demands.
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