Investigating the Cesarean Epidemic: How Micro-Processes Shape Decision-Making and the Health of Vulnerable Patients

Faculty Research Grant
Grant Year

The world is facing a cesarean epidemic—rising rates of unnecessary cesareans. It is well know that cesarean rates have significant impacts on maternal and infant health. Given that physicians shape the health and wellbeing of much of the world’s population, this project’s objective is to identify why physicians in Mexico do so many cesareans and how they learn to make these decisions. Building on almost ten years of research on obstetric care in Mexican hospital, this project will use ethnographic methods, cultural domain analysis, and social network analysis to, (1) To understand how doctors in Mexico learn to do cesareans, and (2) To understand under what circumstances this ideal knowledge gets shifted by reality. This research will help to understand how medical micro-decisions take place in countries with large populations of vulnerable women and identify the existing factors leading to the very high cesarean rates.