Rethinking the Over/Compulsory Medicalization of Childbirth: Maximizing the Lessons from COVID-19 and Healthcare Complexities




Ajayi-Lowo, Esther

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The healthcare sector has been under immense pressure during COVID-19. Healthcare facilities and resources are overstretched and healthcare providers overwhelmed. The precariousness of the healthcare system is more apparent than pre-COVID. But the coronavirus pandemic also presents a strong reminder of the racial and global disparities in maternal health. In the heat of the complex and confusing protocols on prenatal care and child delivery at healthcare facilities, non-medical midwives assisted more Black women in the U.S. than pre-COVID. Similarly, traditional birth attendants made their services more affordable for women in Nigeria. What might we learn from COVID-19 about the unsustainability of the over/compulsory medicalization of childbirth? What might we learn about the significance of non-medical birth attendants for Black maternal health? Using the birth and reproductive justice framework, this paper discusses the lessons that COVID-19 presents for improving Black maternal health in the U.S. and in the Global South.


Creative Arts and Research Symposium
Creative Arts and Research Symposium