Publication Date

Spring 2006


College of Arts and Sciences


Nursing (B.S.N.)


This phenomenological research study examines the attitudes and actions that surround the experience of childbearing among women in a Maya-Marn community of highland Guatemala. This area typifies the indigenous underprivileged population of Central America that has attracted international attention for poor maternal-child health outcomes and resistance to attempts at bio-medical interventions in obstetrics. Interviews were conducted among women with obstetrical experience wherein they described their traditional practices and attitudes towards modern medical care during childbirth. It was found that participants preferred traditional methods of care, but were willing to integrate bio-medical care into their realm of experience in the event of an emergency or, sometimes, as a matter of preference. The findings indicate that the best way to approach medical interventions among the rural, indigenous Mam would be to incorporate the assistance and, beneficial practices of traditional providers rather than seeking to supplant them .