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Developing DestiniesA Mayan Midwife and Town$
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Barbara Rogoff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195319903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319903.001.0001

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Ripples across generations and nations in Mayan pregnancy and childbirth

Ripples across generations and nations in Mayan pregnancy and childbirth

(p.163) 10 Ripples across generations and nations in Mayan pregnancy and childbirth
Developing Destinies

Barbara Rogoff (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The pregnancy and birth practices of Mayan midwives and their patients reveal fascinating connections with ideas and practices from prior centuries. At the same time, the practices and their rationale have changed across the centuries, resulting from inventions by new generations as well as impositions and new ideas from other societies. Sacred Mayan midwives still refer to the ancient Mayan deities of midwives and childbirth, cloaked in Catholicism. The family's oratory in requesting the services of the sacred midwife, and her acceptance speech, resemble those reported in the Florentine Codex from families and midwives four or five centuries before. Practices surrounding the sacred midwife's work regarding conception, pregnancy protections, and birth reveal ties with ancient Aztec and Mayan practices as well as Spanish, Guatemalan, and United States influences. Chona's work shows these roots as well as her innovations, as she tried different approaches in her own ten pregnancies.

Keywords:   midwives, deities, oratory, conception, protections, pregnancy, birth, Aztec, Mayan, Catholic

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