7.3. Biomedical Childbirth in Flores Island, Indonesia

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Alicia Paramita Rebuelta Cho (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)


Being birth process a universal part of human female physiology and biology, anthropologists understand birth not just as a simply biological act, but on the contrary, as Brigitte Jordan said: “Birth is everywhere socially marked and shaped” (1993 [1978]: 1). In rural Indonesian villages, facts such as limited resources and high Maternal and Neonatal Mortality Rates (MMR and NMR) generate perseverance and alterations between traditional and biomedical way of giving birth. Consequently, the availability of biomedical options has conducted local people to modify their traditions (Hildebrand 2009). Taking clinical settings and local life as main scenarios in Sikka District, the present paper explores the way in which Sikka women in Flores Island give birth in maternity wards where biomedical obstetrical system is performed, and thus give voice to their perception about this way of giving birth within their culture as well as to elucidate changes in pregnancy and childbirth practices.

Keywords: Flores, Indonesia, Reproduction, Pregnancy, Childbirth