SPECIAL ISSUE Birthing matters in Portugal

In this SPECIAL ISSUE the contributions of anthropology to the understanding of childbirth as social practice in Portugal are outlined. Portugal is a country with one of the highest rates of medical intervention in childbirth in Europe, and widespread and diverse opposition to current medicalised approaches to birthing care in Portugal are becoming increasingly visible, yet the “alternative” practice of homebirth exists in a legal void. This collEction of articles is an attempt to bridge the present gap in knowledge by showcasing new anthropological research from Portugal on pregnancy and childbirth, offering analyses of birth which go beyond generalising descriptions of the oppositional discourses of specific social actors (e. g. doctors, midwives, homebirthers), and instead analyse the various reflections, collaborations, contestations and contradictions, in particular situations and settings. The experiences of women are foregrounded.