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Accepted Paper:

The transformation of maternal and reproductive healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy.  
Chiara Quagliariello (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales) Giulia Zanini (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

Paper short abstract:

The paper shows how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the provision of reproductive healthcare in Italy. It explores how a highly medicalized and gendered heteronormative approach to reproduction has produced an implementation of practices that may seem paradoxical from a public health perspective.

Paper long abstract:

When Covid-19 hit Europe, Italy was the first country to introduce measures that would significantly restrict people’s mobility and transform their daily life, including working arrangements and healthcare. This paper focuses on how adjustments to the pandemic have affected the provision of women and pregnant people’s reproductive healthcare in Italy between February and May 2020. We illustrate how a national structural approach to maternal and reproductive health was adapted to the pandemic, favouring highly medicalized care, sometimes delaying essential care and leaving women and pregnant people feeling lonely and uncomfortable. Drawing on data collected among women and health professionals, and on policies, press releases, petitions, reports and online material produced by activist groups and professional bodies, we analyse what measures were introduced during the first wave of the epidemic in four areas of women’s reproductive health: antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care, assisted reproduction, and abortion. This analysis explores how a pre-existing reproductive healthcare system has produced, during the crisis, an implementation of reproductive care practices that may seem paradoxical from a public health point of view, but are compliant with a gendered heteronormative approach to reproduction that values motherhood more than any other reproductive path, which associates extended risks to women’s reproductive health, and which especially promotes reproduction only for certain people.

Panel P037
Anthropological perspectives on the transformative potential of the pandemic on work and health rights.
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -