The Logic of Maternity Care and the Logic of Women's Reproductive Choice

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


This project aims to explore Taiwanese maternity care practice. It will focus on Taiwanese women’s experience of the new birth model called “humanization of birth”, which is a model based on cooperation between obstetricians and midwives. Women’s experience of maternity care has been one of the main concerns in feminist studies and other related studies. There are different views on the three different ways in which women can receive birth care, obstetrician-led, midwife-led and obstetrician and midwife collaboration. Most feminists criticize the dominance of the obstetric knowledge and practice with its medical interventions, while others focus on women’s need for women-centered maternity care. To go beyond these discussions, this project attempts to conduct an empirical study in Taiwan in order to provide an account of women’s experience of maternity care. Since 1995, most of prenatal and intrapartum care in Taiwan has been provided by obstetricians. In 2014, the Taiwanese Health Department announced an ‘enhancement pilot on humanization of birth’ in six hospitals in Taiwan in an attempt to find ways of reducing the increased medicalization of care and solve a problem of shortage of obstetricians. This project attempts to understand how maternity care is practised after midwifery has been introduced to obstetric ward, what the logic of this maternity care model is, how women experience this, and how these experiences affect women’s reproductive choices. To answer these questions, the project will conduct fieldwork in one of the hospitals that practise midwifery. Inspired by Annemarie Mol’s (2008) work on the logic of care and the logic of choice and also Charis Thompson’s (2005) ontological choreography, this project will employ their material-semiotic approach to trace actors in the maternity care network. It will focus on understanding the differences between the logic of the new and the logic of the old maternity care practice, and on how women’s body as a mediator is rearticulating and reshaping professional discursive practices. To learn about women’s experience of maternity care in A hospital, this project will conduct participant observations, interviews and also collect drawings from participants. In this project, one can see both what the logic of maternity care and the logic of women’s reproductive are in operation. By understanding women’s experience of maternity care and the logic embedded in care practice, this project will thus shed light on what constitutes Taiwanese maternity care and also what are enacted by medical practices, medical professionals, midwives, and pregnant women.
Effective start/end date9/1/158/31/16


  • humanization of birth
  • maternity care
  • midwifery
  • the logic of care
  • reproductive choice


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