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Amherst College

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

Senegal: Arts and Culture


Much prior research has focused on the problem of maternal mortality in Senegal, the factors that cause it, and the numerical trends that indicate either decline or increase in maternal mortality. Few studies, however, have captured the mentality, attitudes, or beliefs of Senegalese women in rural areas, or the rationality behind their behaviors during pregnancy, which ultimately have implications for the alleged contributors to maternal mortality. I conducted the bulk of my field research in Saraya, a small town in southeastern Senegal. Through study of prenatal consultation records, participant observation in multiple settings, and interviews with healthcare practitioners and recent mothers, I managed to uncover the ways in which women endanger their pregnancies, the difficulties of seeking prenatal care, the obstacles healthcare professionals face in providing adequate prenatal care, the factors keeping women from advocating for their health, and evidence of changes that will positively affect women’s health. The aim of this study was to flesh out the quantitative data that already exist on the subject with the qualitative experience of the pregnant woman in rural Senegal.


Maternal and Child Health


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