Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin, and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, is a medical anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of reproduction. Robbie lectures at childbirth, midwifery and obstetrical conferences around the world. Robbie has written over 80 articles and the book Birth as an American Rite of Passage (2004). Her research on global trends and transformations in childbirth, obstetrics and midwifery is ongoing.
Robbie is lead editor of ten collections. Robbie currently serves as editor for the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (www.imbci.org) and member of the Board of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO).
Robbie is co-author of From Doctor to Healer: The Transformative Journey (1998) and The Anatomy of Ritual (forthcoming). She has co-edited ten collections, including Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (1997);Reconceiving Midwives: The New Canadian Model of Care; Mainstreaming Midwives: The Politics of Change (2006); Intuition: the Inside Story (1997); and Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots (1998); and Birth Models That Work (2009). Her research on global trends and transformations in childbirth, obstetrics and midwifery is ongoing.
Visit Robbie’s website at www.davis-floyd.com.
Photo by Jason Leung
Globally, there is the problem of the over-medicalization of childbirth, but there is also the problem of the under-utilization of lifesaving care, and marginalized people often suffer needlessly from lack, rather than overuse, of health care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery. This quote from Miller et al. Read more…. Become an Implementing Partner of the International Childbirth Initiative: A Model for Safety and Respect in Childbirth that Works in Every Setting, Everywhere in the World
Traditonal Midwife Anita Rojas with Doña Irene at the Midwifery Today 2005 Eugene conference
A Mexican midwife recounts the story of her calling to midwifery and shares her philosophy.
Read more…. Doña Irene Sotelo
This rapid-response article (1) seeks to describe the quick and dramatic changes occurring in birth practices across the United States resulting from the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the life-threatening disease it produces, Covid-19. Long before the Covid-19 epidemic hit the United States, the medicalization of pregnancy had led to a broad acceptance of birthing as hospital-based—where it is often treated like a dysfunctional mechanical process and its normal physiology is ignored. We explore the question of how Covid-19 is causing women and birth providers to look at birth differently, given that hospitals are now more than ever being perceived as sites of contagion. We show that Covid-19 offers a testing ground for ongoing debates about the efficacy of maternity care and the safety of hospital versus out-of-hospital (OOH) births. We conclude by suggesting specific policy changes to generate effective maternity care in the face of future pandemics and other disasters that are bound to increase in our era of the climate crisis.
Read more…. The Impacts of Covid-19 on Birth Practices in the United States
Photo by Robbie Davis-Floyd
A well-written and thorough update on the current birth situation in the Netherlands. Read more…. An Update on the Netherlands
This article outlines the 10 steps developed by the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative to help ensure that women everywhere are guaranteed the basic human right of humane and evidence-based maternity care. Read more…. The International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative: A Human Rights Approach to Optimal Maternity Care
Photos provided by author
Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos in Costa Rica.
Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of giving talks in 10 Latin American countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina.…
Read more…. Changing Childbirth: The Latin American Example
Anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd shares her experiences speaking about birth in Latin American countries, and identifies at least 21 ingredients necessary for creating a social movement that can effectively bring about birth change. Read more…. Changing Childbirth: The Latin American Example
Photo by Jezael Melgoza
Robbie Davis-Floyd interpreted from Spanish this fascinating interview with a traditional Mexican midwife.
Read more…. Traditional Mexican Midwifery: Doña Enriqueta Contreras
Photo by Tom Chamberlain
When a baby is gestating in the mother’s womb, neural circuits are being formed in its brain. This process begins in early pregnancy and continues as the baby grows, until by the time of birth the baby’s developing brain already contains millions of pathways and connections. Much of the information that flows along these circuits is cultural. As it develops, the baby receives enormous amounts of cultural information from the mother’s activities: when she goes to sleep, when she wakes, how she moves during the day, her speech patterns, her emotions, etc.
Read more…. Ways of Knowing: Open and Closed Systems
According to the international definition, a midwife is one who graduates from a program duly recognized in its jurisdiction. In the developing world, this generally means a two-year government training program. Read more…. Anthropological Perspectives on Global Issues in Midwifery
For the past few years I have listened with dismay to direct-entry midwives criticizing nurse-midwives as “medwives”… and to nurse-midwives talking about professional direct-entry midwives as if they don’t know very much, and working in some states to pass exclusionary laws. Read more…. Some Thoughts on Bridging the Gap Between Nurse- and Direct Entry Midwives