Home Institution

Beloit College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change


Pregnancy is, for each individual woman, situated in a particular historical, social, and cultural understanding of her own body; the experience cannot be divorced from these components that inform what is deemed unhealthy or inappropriate. Most social research regarding pregnancy and childbirth focuses on economic and political implications. This study explored personal narratives of Samoan women’s experience with pregnancy and childbirth to shed light on cultural aspects of events. Seven women were interviewed as key informants using informal, unstructured interviews to better understand these topics, and are presented as a compilation of stories of the most intimate parts of their experiences. In Samoa, pregnancy is seen as a part of the progression of a woman’s life as she is demanded to negotiate between Samoan understandings and biomedical understandings of these biosocial events. This paper is meant to introduce the human elements of these intense, memorable experiences.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Maternal and Child Health | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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