Hanna Strack » Birth in Peru

Birth in Peru

Commentary by Lara Gomez



Unfortunately there is a lot of pain and very little appreciation or reverence for birth, although some new promising initiatives are taking root with Birthing Houses and doulas slowly coming to the fore.


Peru is sadly one of the countries with higher rates of violence against women (domestic violence, rape and feminicide) and where forced sterilizations were also practiced by the State as a form of population control.


In the cities, births are either happening mostly in ill-equipped hospitals where often women are mistreated and there is high incidence of obstetric violence and abuse, due to the bad conditions for the sanitary personnel and lack of resources. Or, well-to-do women are giving birth in private clinics, where they experience a very very high rate of unnecessary medical intervention, including too many c-sections. Unfortunately, too many women are afraid of the moment of birth and of the pain, and prefer to be numbed or passive.


In the Andes and the Amazon, th ere are still traditional practices, with traditional birth attendants (female and also male-often the husband), and organic positions (upright, crouching, all-fours) to help women birth. There is also more reverence and care for the woman during the postpartum period, although many campesinas return to work in the fields with their newborns very soon after giving birth.