Women's representations and experiences with vaginal and cesarean delivery in public and private maternity hospitals

This study analyzes the different representations and experiences of women from different social classes, including issues related to their relations with hospital staff in different institutional settings. This qualitative study focused on women who had experienced both types of delivery, in three maternity hospitals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (one public, one fully private, and another private under an outsourcing agreement with the public health system). The study showed that variations in public and private service models result in different types of delivery care and different relations with staff, and are reflected in different birthing experiences for the women. However, a critical gender perspective shows that in both cases, the service models reproduce the medicalization of childbirth and women's submission as objects in the birthing process. Although this is manifested in different ways in the three groups, the end result is to reduce the range of care and the possibility of women's empowerment during childbirth.

Maternal-Child Health Services; Natural Childbirth; Cesarean Section


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