Birth in France: The Maisons de Naissance Experimental Project and the Horizon of Homebirth

The “alternative” movement around birthing options is beginning to blossom in France—more rapidly in the last few years. Although birth centers were nonexistent before, a few mothers seeking natural births have managed to have them at home with sage femmes (literally, wise women) who support non-medicalized births. However, this option is being threatened as fewer sage femmes are willing to attend homebirths due to the obstacles found in their practice. Only recently have birth centers or birth homes become a new option for mothers. This is a good alternative for women who can’t find an active homebirth midwife in their area, or who don’t want to birth at home or in a highly medicalized environment—which is the case for the great majority of hospitals in France. In 2016, nine maisons de naissance received a green light to function on an “experimental title.” At the same time, the unavailability of homebirth midwives has propelled some couples to plan unassisted births.

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About Author: Cynthia Ingar

Cynthia IngarCynthia Ingar is a Peruvian anthropologist (PhD), doula, women’s health educator, and mother of Maël. She is committed to work with women, through research and work on reproductive health, including accompanying women in the rite of passage of birth. She has applied her research work in different Andean contexts and in the city of Lima through her work in reproductive health programs and doula education programs. She is founder of Hampi Warmi, a Peruvian-based nonprofit aimed to bring Woman Medicine back to girls and women in the Andes and worldwide. KillaWarmi, its main project, is a reproductive health intercultural initiative to empower Andean women and revitalize Andean midwifery and feminine wisdom. Ingar also teaches international women’s workshops and retreats in South and North America, including the Wilka Warmi (Sacred Woman) Retreat in the Sacred Valley in Cusco, Peru, once a year.

Cynthia has focused on supporting traditional midwives in her country as well as preserving holistic cultural approaches to women’s birth and dignity internationally. She is Midwifery Today’s Country Contact for Peru.

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