Esta con la partera: A qualitative feminist perspective of women's birthing experiences in El Paso Texas

Anessa Anchondo-Rivera, University of Texas at El Paso


The state of pregnancy is a political one, where women act within and from the social structures that can influence life choices. Through in-depth interviews, this qualitative study examines the choices of six women who birthed at the only birthing center in El Paso County, El Paso Texas. This research uses feminist standpoint theory and life course approach theory to examine how these six women interviewed negotiated their decision-making processes during their pregnancy and birth. Through the use of visual sociology, the research also uses the documentary Catching Babies as a secondary source to examine the services of Maternidad La Luz. This research provides a brief history of midwifery and obstetrics, the laws surrounding the practice of midwifery in the State of Texas, and research that shows the safety of midwifery assisted birth. This thesis takes a feminist stance that argues that women’s experiences in birth are subjective simply because men cannot experience birth and thus their understanding of birth is created from an outsider and objective standpoint. Nonetheless, women’s experiences in birth are an important for contributing to medical sociology and feminists’ perspectives of women’s birthing choices within a broader reproductive justice narrative. The experiences of the six women interviewed offer personal insights into how women feel about their experience, and of broader social structures that influenced their birthing choices. This research shows that for these women interviewed, birthing with a midwife at a birthing center offered them agency and power in their pregnancy and birth processes as well as higher satisfaction of care.

Subject Area

Social research|Womens studies|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Anchondo-Rivera, Anessa, "Esta con la partera: A qualitative feminist perspective of women's birthing experiences in El Paso Texas" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10118805.