From expectation to experience: humanizing childbirth in the Brazilian National Health System

Da expectativa à experiência: humanização do parto no Sistema Único de Saúde

De la expectativa a la experiencia: humanización del parto en el Sistema Brasileño de Salud

Marília Mendes de Souza Teixeirense Sara León Spesny Dos Santos About the authors

During the past 15 years Brazil has increased efforts to humanize maternal care within the Brazilian National Health System (SUS). Humanization efforts come along with de-medicalization of birth even if quality care and reduction of inequalities are still pressing matters in the country. For this qualitative study we interviewed ten women regarding their experiences of pregnancy and childbirth. The study took place in Brasília (DF) and women narrated their birth experiences at local hospitals or a birth center. Women were mostly satisfied with their attention during childbirth, specifically those giving birth at the birth center, in contrast to women giving birth at local hospitals. However, the humanization movement, essentializing women's bodies can also reproduce normative discourses that shape a sense of self-blame and disappointment if the ‘ideal birth is not achieved.

Humanizing delivery; Birthing centers; Natural childbirth; Women's rights; Qualitative research

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