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August 2019

Salud Publica Mex. 1992 Sep-Oct; 34(5): 528-32.

[Pregnancy, labor, and puerperium: concepts and practices of midwives in the state of Morelos]

Castañeda-Camey X.

Departamento de Investigación en Salud de la Mujer, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, México.

In Mexico a combined type of care for the health-sickness phenomenon exists, where three systems interact: domestic, academic and traditional medicine. In relation to reproductive health, in the state of Morelos approximately 50 per cent of women in rural areas receive attention from traditional birth attendants, who make up one of the principal resources of traditional medicine. The goal of this study was to gather knowledge about and describe the concepts, resources and practices used by traditional birth attendants in their care during pregnancy, birth and puerperium; and likewise to determine their socio-demographic characteristics, their geographic distribution, their number and the level of training which they possess. A census based on three sources was carried out in which information about seven basic variables was sought. This information was completed with structured interviews with key informants which allowed the definition of a profile of the different types of traditional birth attendants according to the population they care for and the resources they use. The most relevant results indicate that 630 traditional birth attendants are distributed throughout the 32 municipalities of the state, with an average age of 52 years and 50 per cent having attended training courses. 17.5 per cent fall within the category of traditional birth attendant, 50 per cent are trained empiricists and 11.6 per cent are non-trained empiricists. The 20 per cent did not fit this typology. The strong social and cultural identification that exists between traditional birth attendants and their patients indicates the need to incorporate this valuable resource in rural reproductive health programs.


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