'Because He Loves Me': Men's and Women's Perspectives on How and Why Husbands Are Involved in Maternal Health in Rural Guatemala

Marion W. Carter, Princeton University

This study aims to extend notions of male involvement to the maternal health field and to understand how Guatemalan men and women think about husband involvement in pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Based on individual interviews and focus groups with men, women, and community health workers from two areas of Guatemala, this paper describes the pregnancy-related advice and assistance husbands give and the reasons men are and are not involved in maternal health. Both men and women reported that male involvement in maternal health is relatively high, desirable, unique, and affected by many factors, particularly love, men's work demands, economic concerns, and men's knowledge. The results help to fill the broad gaps in knowledge about male involvement in this aspect of family health and to amend stereotypes about husbands' relationship to maternal health care.

Presented in Session 93: Men's Role in Reproduction in Developing Countries