Home birth in Italy. The role of freelance midwives and parents in collective action and social change
Il parto in casa in Italia. Il coinvolgimento delle ostetriche libere professioniste e dei genitori nell’azione collettiva e nel cambiamento sociale
During the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, more couples in Italy considered giving birth at home with the assistance of private midwives, by questioning the social norm of a hospital birth. This article discusses the findings produced through a qualitative study that has reached 16 home birth experts and 22 women who gave birth at home between 2020 and 2022. It emerges that the midwives’ dedication to their profession is embedded in their awareness of being contributors to social change (in terms of the demedicalisation of birth and women’s empowerment) initiated in the 1970s by older generations of midwives and birth activists. Parents tend to make sense of their home birth as a matter of individual choice and wish that this choice could be soon or later normalized. However, midwives and parents rarely engage with policy makers and tend to be content to express their values in their professional practice and birth/parenting choices.
Daniela Bandelli, "Home birth in Italy. The involvement of freelance midwives and parents in collective action and social change" in: "Poliarchie/Polyarchies volume 6 n. 1/2023 ", EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, 2023, pp. 100-130