Lessons from Chiapas: Caring for Indigenous Women Through a Femifocal Model of Care

Jenna Murray De Lopez, Cristina Alonso, Alison Danch, Janell Tryon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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By highlighting the various ways in which indigenous women in the colonial city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas manage maternal health and birth care, in this chapter we intend to provide a counter-narrative to the dominant approach which conflates medicalized maternal health with low mortality ratios; regardless of the quality of interventions and the cultural preferences of diverse populations. Our research and practice experience shows that indigenous and non-indigenous women throughout Mexico continue to seek the services of midwives and out-of-hospital care, regardless of the improvements in access to public services. This observation alone raises important questions about the divide between the type of public services available to indigenous and low-income women, and their needs and desires around the lifecycle process of motherhood. This chapter also discusses Luna Maya, established in 2004 as a femifocal birth center and midwifery training program. Luna Maya has provided a safe space to poor and victimized women, and especially indigenous women, to recover their power and strength, becoming a model in Latin America for out-of-hospital birth and integrative care.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaternal Health, Pregnancy-Related Morbidity and Death Among Indigenous Women of Mexico and Central America:
Subtitle of host publicationAn Anthropological, Epidemiological and Biomedical Approach
EditorsDavid Schwartz
PublisherSpringer Nature
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Femifocal
  • Midwifery
  • Mexico
  • Indigenous people
  • Women's health
  • Maternal health care

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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