Axes de recherche
Parents' experiences of surgical birth: a socio-anthropological study of C-section culture in Switzerland
Switzerland ranks among the European countries with the highest rates of surgical births (32.3%), well over the 10% to 15% recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2013, the Federal Office of Public Health published a report emphasising the lack of available data regarding national-level C-section rates and concluding that a full range of factors - biomedical but also demographic, socioeconomic and legal - are at the origin of the current prevalence of surgical births.
This project's intent is to investigate the Swiss 'culture of C-section', with a focus on parents' expectations and experiences during the post-partum period and beyond. The existing socio-anthropological literature is scant and rarely considers the operation's long-term influence on mothers' physical and mental health, fathers' experience or family life. This project's aim is to fill this gap by offering anthropological insights, coupled with a gender perspective, on women's and couples' experiences of C-sections, especially during the post-partum period. It analyses how a C-section shapes parental experiences of birth, roles and responsibilities within the couple and the family as well as their intimacy. It also investigates the clinical encounter's impacts on the relationship between parents and health professionals, in that the latter convey crucial information influencing couples' representations of childbirth as well as how the media and Internet shape the culture of childbirth. This project includes six research axes: (1) the experiences of Swiss and immigrant women and men of C-sections and the post-partum period, focusing on their specificities; (2) the impacts of the introduction of 'gentle' C-section in Switzerland; (3) the emergence of new therapeutic practices to heal the somatic and mental disorders caused by surgical birth for women; (4) the opposition between the 'natural birth' and 'technocratic birth' models in the couples' perception of C-section; (5) how parents and clinicians comprehend vaginal birth after caesare
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