My research project is focused on analyzing the effects of law on obstetric care in Argentina. I am primarily interested in looking at the implications of a law concerning obstetric violence in Argentina, which “guarantees a woman the right to be treated as a healthy, informed decision-making participant in her own labor, delivery, and postpartum period,” among other rights. Through this project, I aim to learn about the factors that impact a woman’s sense of autonomy in receiving obstetric care in Argentina. Some factors I am considering are feelings of security or vulnerability in clinical settings, comfort-level in vocalizing concerns related to medical treatment, physicians’ perceived respect for patient decision-making, and patient knowledge of available medical treatment options.
This summer, I have been collecting data virtually through the use of surveys. I have received over 200 responses on my surveys so far from women in Argentina who are currently pregnant and from women who have previously been pregnant. When I was preparing for my research project in May, I began to think more critically about how the current reality of
Covid-19 deeply affects pregnant women around the world. In Argentina, specific rights defended by the country’s law on obstetric care are being called into question, and local organizations dedicated to safeguarding these rights for women are being very vocal on their social media platforms. I have been able to join Zoom calls with some organizations and hear directly from pregnant women who are concerned that their rights will be in jeopardy when they enter the delivery room due to the strict restrictions imposed by the pandemic. I have also revised my surveys to include a section on pregnant women’s perceptions of these restrictions, what the actual restrictions are, and how it has affected their mental health. While I did not know what to expect in conducting research virtually, I have felt surprisingly connected to my topic throughout the summer, and I am very excited to analyze my results in the fall!