Re-examining Norms of Disrespect and Abuse in the Second Stage of Labor in Tanzanian Maternity Care

Adrienne E. Strong*, Tara L. White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Globally, the widespread occurrence of disrespect and abuse (D&A) on maternity wards is well-documented. Using ethnography and cultural consensus analysis we explore how the practice of midwives hitting women who are in the second stage of labor (pushing) has become a locally accepted form of care in Tanzania if a baby’s life appears to be at risk. This analysis interrogates the deep uncertainty of birth outcomes in this setting that may motivate abuse during this time. Seriously engaging with local discourses on abuse and care sheds light on hegemonic norms and power dynamics and is critical for improving maternity services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-321
Number of pages15
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number4
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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