Samoan Midwives' Stories: Joining Social and Professional Midwives in New Models of Birth

Lesley Barclay Utumuu

in Birth Models That Work

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780520248632
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943339 | DOI:
Samoan Midwives' Stories: Joining Social and Professional Midwives in New Models of Birth

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This chapter challenges the assumptions, still held in many postcolonial countries, that the migration and replication of a Western model of birthing is necessarily a desirable goal. It demonstrates how a group of leaders in one country, Samoa, have made considerable progress in both reconceptualizing and developing a “postcolonial” model of maternity care. Samoa's birth model integrates social systems and practitioners with professional nurse-midwives in a model of health services delivery that appears to be unique. The data collected from traditional and professional midwives show that the experience in Samoa paints a much more positive picture and demonstrates a convincing and successful transformation from colonized birthing models. The Samoan model of birth illustrates a postcolonial birth system that is developing in ways which are not only economical and pragmatic, but which also go beyond attention to physical outcomes to meet women's individual needs for good spiritual, emotional, and social outcomes of birth as well.

Keywords: Samoa's birth model; social systems; postcolonial birth system; midwives; physical outcomes

Chapter.  8428 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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