Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Alyssa Crittenden

Second Committee Member

Danielle Benyshek

Third Committee Member

Peter Gray

Fourth Committee Member

Gabriela Buccini

Number of Pages



Many low and middle-income countries have implemented new national policy measures aimed at reducing maternal morbidity and mortality due to globalized efforts to improve women’s maternal health. One of the main goals is to move childbirth into hospital facilities and improve health access and education outreach. For Indigenous communities around the world, these measures have fallen short of their goals. Indigenous women suffer from greater social, political, and economic disparities and inequalities, have poorer health indicators overall, and worse maternal health outcomes compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. For small-scale communities, we have limited data on reproductive health among women, specifically how the subjective experiences of mothering, pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum impact health outcomes.In this paper, we report on three generations of Hadzabe women’s pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum practices and experiences. We also report on a cross-sectional survey designed to examine how much access, if any, Hadzabe women have regarding birth registration for their children. We found that Hadzabe women predominantly give birth at home with female birth attendants, but there is increasing access to hospital birth in the event of emergencies, though emergency care is still extremely difficult to access. This is significant because Tanzania has recently outlawed homebirth with fines and penalties for women who do not follow the mandate. We also found that Hadzabe women have intimate support systems during the postpartum period to help with healing, recovery, and taking care of the newborn through the first year postpartum. Finally, we found that the community has extremely limited access to birth registration for their children, despite mandates of children needing to be enrolled 90 days after birth. The qualitative data our woefully limited understanding of hunter-gatherer women’s subjective reproductive experiences and serve to understand Hadzabe women’s specific health beliefs and practices. The survey data can also assist with informing health policy initiatives affecting the most rural communities in Tanzania. Much of the localized policy initiatives (like birth registration mandates and the outlawing of homebirth) have yet to impact health beliefs and practices among these rural communities.


Gender and Sexuality | Medicine and Health Sciences | Sociology | Women's Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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