Social practices of labor and birth in Brazil: the speech of puerperal women

Neide Pires Leal Maria Helena Versiani Maria do Carmo Leal Yammê Ramos Portella Santos About the authors


The article analyzes the opinions of a group of women regarding the standard of care at maternity facilities attached to the Ministry of Health’s Programa Rede Cegonha or Stork Network Program. The women’s views were obtained from a questionnaire administered to 10,665 puerperal women between 2016 and 2017 as part of the survey Evaluation of good labor and childbirth care practices in maternity facilities covered by the Rede Cegonha, conducted by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and Maranhão Federal University. Consisting mainly of closed-ended questions, the questionnaire contained an optional open-ended question at the end that allowed women to talk freely about the standard of care received in the maternity facility. Of the 10,665 puerperal women interviewed, 2,069 gave their opinions. We undertook a critical reading of the opinions identifying four core themes, which were discussed in the light of the relevant literature: puerperal woman/health team relationship; puerperal women’s right to information; presence of a companion; and quality of hospital services and facilities. Giving both praise and criticism, all the women reiterated the importance of improving the quality of public health services to ensure the humanization of childbirth in Brazil.

Key words
Health services evaluation; Childbirth; Rede Cegonha

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