Contemporary Issues in the Training, Practice, and Implementation of Midwifery for Indigenous Women in Mexico

  • Jennifer FosterEmail author
  • Cristina Alonso
Part of the Global Maternal and Child Health book series (GMCH)


Midwifery care in Mexico is currently not understood to be a profession, nor is there acceptance of the midwifery model of care as a desirable norm for most women. While there has been a commitment to integrated medicine in the public sector, such as the Intercultural Hospital in San Cristobal de Las Casas, and recently “humanized birth” areas in maternity hospitals in Tula, Hidalgo, and Tlaxcala, there are different and conflicting opinions and visions how to achieve “integrated medicine,” which includes midwifery care. The following chapter examines the current state of maternal health, professional and traditional midwifery in Mexico, its effect on health outcomes for women, and its interface with publicly funded care. We review the state of maternal health in Mexico and explore the cultural worldview of Mesoamerican birth ways, which remains an important influence among the various indigenous groups in contemporary Mexico. We argue that professional midwifery is the bridge between the two worlds of contemporary Western obstetric care with its evidence base in addressing the physical complications of pregnancy and childbearing and the more spiritual and holistically driven orientation of indigenous traditional midwifery.


Indigenous women Maternal health Mexico Pregnancy Central America Prenatal care Chiapas Oaxaca Midwife Maternal morbidity Maternal mortality Midwifery training Education Pregnancy education Maya Mazatec Nahua Mexican Midwifery Association Traditional midwife Professional midwife 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of NursingEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Project Director, Luna Maya Birth Center, Past PresidentMexican Midwifery AssociationMexico CityMexico

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