Indigenous newborns
surviving in cultural safety

Throughout the Americas, maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity among indigenous peoples is higher than in the overall population. Mainstream policies and programs encourage indigenous women to deliver in hospitals and clinics, with little regard for their traditions and cultural values. The Safe Birth in Cultural Safety initiative draws on both indigenous and biomedical knowledge and practices to improve maternal and newborn health without disrupting indigenous cultures. The pilot study took place in Nancue Ñomndaa (Amuzgo) communities of Xochistlahuaca (Xochis), a rural indigenous community in Guerrero state, Mexico. The results show that women can safely give birth without having to give up their traditions in the process. We hope to demonstrate, through a larger trial in different regions of Mexico and Colombia, that this culturally respectful way of doing things can be of use in indigenous settings across Latin America.