"Childbirth Is Not A Car Rental": Mothers And Obstetricians Negotiating Choice And Relationships In Russian Commercial Maternity Care
This article explores how commercialization of maternity care in Russia offers new opportunities and imposes new limitations on both mothers-tobe and doctors. The research is based on 35 in-depth interviews with patients and 24 with professionals in paid maternity car in St. Petersburg (2015–2017). It is a significant and illustrative case within the broader trends in the Russian health care system of the 2000s–2010s. This article’s contribution is an understanding of maternity care’s post-socialism market development from the perspective of women: mothers-to-be and mostly female doctors. The ongoing reforms and organization of paid maternity care in Russia are analyzed. I explore the position of mothers-to-be as consumers with growing demands, and of professional women as they respond to such demands. I depict how doctors, though improving their economic and working conditions, resist the symbolic decline of their status and seek to restore their power, and how mothers-to-be accept doctors’
authoritative role in highly medicalized maternity care.