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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


BLANCO-MUNOZ, Julia  and  CASTANEDA-CAMEY, Xochitl. Tolerance and resistance: abortion from the point of view of traditional midwives in a rural area of Mexico. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1999, vol.33, n.4, pp.334-341. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: An evaluation of the perception, resources and practices regarding abortion of traditional midwives in a rural area in the municipality of Yecapixtla, state of Morelos, located in the central region of Mexico. METHODS: A qualitative methodology consisting of a detailed interview, focal groups and participating observation, was used. The subjects investigated were socio-cultural aspects, reproduction, sexuality and health related to abortion. Nine midwives were interviewed and a focal group was formed in which 16 midwives participated. RESULTS: The results demonstrated a profound rejection of abortion whether inducted or spontaneous. The former was considered a major sin and the latter a serious failure of a woman´s reproductive function. Women who abort are called "pigs", "hogs" or "bitches" and the midwives are reluctant to attend them. However, a common practice among the women in the community is to "regulate the menstruation", that is, to use substances that provoke menstruation when this is delayed. This specific practice is not considered abortive by these women. CONCLUSION: Local popular beliefs about abortion are indispensible for the construction of effective strategies, which when provided by the institutional health services, reinforce the bonds between these and the traditional midwives in such a way as to increase accessibility to the health services as well as the quality of care to women.

Keywords : Abortion, induced; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Midwives, practical.

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