Practising Intimate Labour: Birth Doulas Respond during COVID-19.

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Date: Spring 2021
From: Anthropology in Action(Vol. 28, Issue 1)
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Inc.
Document Type: Article
Length: 2,168 words
Lexile Measure: 1240L

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Abstract :

Birth doulas provide non-medical intimate support to pregnant people and their families. This support starts at the very foundation of life - breath. Doulas remind, encourage and accompany people through labour by breathing with them. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted doulas' intimate work, and they are forced to navigate new restrictions surrounding birth practices. Based on data collected from a qualitative survey of over five-hundred doulas as well as subsequent follow-up interviews with select doulas, we find intimacy at births disrupted and reshaped. We suggest that an analysis of doulas provides a unique way to think through the complexities surrounding reproduction precisely due to doulas' ability to navigate intimate labour between and across boundaries. KEYWORDS: COVID-19, childbirth, doulas, intimate labour, labour support, reproduction

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A653470102