Reconquista: Obstetric Violence and Underreporting of Obstetric Complications in Yucatán and Quintana Roo

  • Sarah A. WilliamsEmail author
Part of the Global Maternal and Child Health book series (GMCH)


By providing ethnographic examples of some of the ways that obstetric violence is manifested during labor, birth, and the postpartum period, this chapter explores the context and practice of obstetric violence in Quintana Roo and Yucatán and its relationship to racism and broader patterns of violence and marginalization of women. It investigates the effect of medical interventions during birth and postpartum within the context of rural and urban Maya life and highlights the ways in which routinized high-intervention births may lead to increased complications and postpartum infections, given the realities of life for many in Quintana Roo and Yucatán. This chapter also examines the role of documentation and record-keeping as a means of obscuring the practice of obstetric violence and how this may contribute to skewed and inaccurate maternal and infant mortality rates.


Indigenous women Maternal health Skilled birth attendants Birth practices Mexico Quintana Roo Yucatan Indigenous pregnancy Maya Pregnancy disorders Maternal death Maternal mortality Reproductive health Obstetric violence Cesarean section Traditional birth attendant Breastfeeding Medical intervention Underreporting Health system Episiotomy Violence 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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