Delayed periods and falling babies: The ethnophysiology and politics of pregnancy loss in rural north India

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

During research on women’s experiences of child-bearing in rural Bijnor District, in North India, the people asked women to recount all their pregnancies, asking specifically about ‘delayed periods’, ‘falling babies’, and ‘babies bom dead’ or described as dying after just a couple of breaths. In particular, the situation of the child-bearing woman in her in-laws’ home impacts on her daily life, including her experiences of pregnancy and pregnancy loss. This distinction between a ‘delayed period’ and the ‘falling of a baby’ is crucial for assessing the frequency of pregnancy loss. If such a conception ends in pregnancy loss during the first trimester or so, the woman may not even be aware that she was ever pregnant. Basically, then, an understanding of the meanings of pregnancy loss in rural north India cannot rest simply on descriptive account of ethnomedical theories of the physiological processes associated with pregnancy. The developing fetus grows and takes its strength from the mother’s retained menstrual blood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnthropology of Pregnancy Loss
Subtitle of host publicationComparative Studies in Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Neo-natal Death
EditorsRosanne Cecil
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter1
Pages17-37
Number of pages21
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781003135722
ISBN (Print)9781859731208, 9781859731253
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2020

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