Introducing ‘Natural’ Childbirth in Russian Hospitals. Midwives’ Institutional Work

  • Ekaterina Borozdina


This chapter considers the development of independent midwifery services as an institutional innovation in the Russian maternity care. Following traditions established in the Soviet times, Russian maternity care continues to be highly medicalised. Based on a study of a Russian centre for midwifery care, this chapter investigates how, with the advent of marketisation and liberalisation in the 1990s, midwifes have performed informal institutional work to craft a professional space for themselves in this setting and introduce changes in maternity care in the form of demedicalised ‘natural’ childbirth approach. The chapter emphasises the uncertainty of the results achieved and continuous precariousness of midwifes’ professional position, highlighting midwifes’ skills in informal negotiations and navigating contingency.



The research has been conducted with the support from Novartis AG. I finalised the resulting text during fellowship at the Institute for Human Sciences, which was supported by the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ekaterina Borozdina
    • 1
  1. 1.European UniversitySaint-PetersburgRussia

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