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Waldorf mothers: pregnancy and birth in an anthroposophical community

Recent research in the Social Sciences and Colective Health points to different forms in contemporary attitudes toward the act of giving birth. During a six-month period in 2013, we carried out an ethnographic study of anthroposophical healing in Demétria, a neighborhood in the city of Botucatu in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. In this paper we seek to draw reflections about the guidelines set out in Anthroposophy’s romantic medicine as it applies to gestation and birth in a rural anthroposophical community and to the relationships established with biomedicine and with health services. Contact with mothers and pregnant women showed there to be an emotional grammar through which these women seek out physical purification and control of their bodies, as well as a religious silence when it comes to facing the pains of giving birth, as a form of showing courage. When they seek to access health services, expectations about the birth are found to be distant from the practices and conceptions of conventional medicine.

Pain; Birth; Anthroposophy; Ethnography

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