Birthing matters in Portugal: introduction

Translated title of the contribution: Birthing matters in Portugal: introduction

Anna Fedele, Joanna White

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

2 Scopus citations


In this introduction to the collection “Birthing matters in Portugal,” the contributions of anthropology to the understanding of childbirth as social practice are outlined. Portugal is a country with one of the highest rates of medical intervention in childbirth in Europe, and widespread and diverse opposition to current medi-calised approaches to birthing care in Portugal are becoming increasingly visible, yet the “alternative” practice of homebirth exists in a legal void. The introduction provides a summary of the historical emergence of the current situation, which has scarcely been explored to date by social science scholars. This colelction of articles is an attempt to bridge the present gap in knowledge by showcasing new anthropological research from Portugal on pregnancy and childbirth, offering analyses of birth which go beyond generalising descriptions of the oppositional discourses of specific social actors (e. g. doctors, midwives, homebirthers), and instead analyse the various reflections, collaborations, contestations and contradictions, in par-ticular situations and settings. The experiences of women are foregrounded. The contribution of each of the four papers in the collection is described.

Translated title of the contributionBirthing matters in Portugal: introduction
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-618
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Portugal
  • anthropology
  • childbirth
  • homebirth
  • medicalization
  • preg-nancy


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