Maternal care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period in primary care units, Oaxaca, Mexico

Azalia Pintado, Matthias Sachse, Zaira Lastra


Introduction: The care provided to Mexican women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period is imbued with deep inequalities and inequities. These problems are seen in both the access to and the quality of maternal health services. They stem from the poverty, marginalization, and discrimination experienced by Mexico’s indigenous peoples.

Research Question: This study was conducted to identify situations that might compromise the quality of healthcare provided to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

Methods: This was a descriptive study examining the obstetric and post-partum care provided in two public clinics located in rural areas within the municipality of Oaxaca de Juarez, the capital of Oaxaca state. Standardized surveys and direct observation were used to collect data. Data was inputted into an Excel spreadsheet in order to obtain descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages).

Results: Specific human and reproductive rights are denied to women receiving care at the two health centers. These violations include the right to equal treatment, non-discrimination, access to infor-mation, respect for their physical integrity, health, and reproductive autonomy.

Discussion: The human rights violations documented in this paper emphasize the importance of studying obstetric care across the continuum and not simply limiting health system evaluation to compliance (or non-compliance) with regulations or established standards. These violations are the product of a complex framework within which institutional violence and gender violence interact.

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Department of Family and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center
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Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES)/Latin American Social Medicine Association:
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ALAMES, Mexico Region, San Jerónimo 70 – 1, Col. La Otra Banda, CP 01090, México, D.F.