© 2019 Anna OZHIGANOVA
2019 — №1 (17)
Ozhiganova, А. (2019). History of the Russian movement for home birth and attachment parenting (1980s – nowadays). Medical anthropology and bioethics, 17(1).
Keywords: spiritual midwifery, attachment parenting, home birth, water childbirth, Healthy Family Parental Club, I. Charkovsky.
Abstract: The publication presents the materials of the round table that took place on April 3, 2019, at the Center of Medical Anthropology of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences. The event was dedicated to the history of the parental movement for a healthy lifestyle and alternative methods for child upbringing, which arose back in the late Soviet period and reached its peak popularity during the Perestroika years. The round table was attended by perinatal specialists – midwives, childbirth preparation coaches, infant swimming coaches and perinatal psychologists. The experts stood at the origins of this movement and largely determined it. They spoke about when and why they joined the parenting movement; what meaning they attribute to the notion of spiritual midwifery; how they evaluate the practice of cold hardening and infants training developed by one of the movement’s leaders, Igor Charkovsky. The discussion revealed that the movement from its very start was very heterogeneous and consisted of various groups and currents.
Anna Aleksandrovna Ozhiganova is Cand. Sc. and Research Fellow at the Center of Medical Anthropology of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow).
The publication presents the materials of the round table that took place on April 3, 2019, at the Center for Medical Anthropology of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The event was dedicated to the history of the parental movement for a healthy lifestyle and alternative methods for child upbringing, which arose in the late Soviet period and reached the peak in its popularity during the Perestroika years. The movement never had a distinguishing name or organizational structure, and was, rather, an informal community of enthusiastic parents. Based on peer help and coaching, the movement participants prepared women for home water birth, exercised cold hardening and infant training, using such practices as swimming, diving and dynamic gymnastics.
The informal leaders of the movement were Igor Charkovsky (the author of the home water birth concept), Alexandra Gurevich (the head of the “Healthy Family” club) and Boris Nikitin (the head of the large Nikitins family, widely known in the Soviet Union thanks to their innovative methods of child training).
The round table was attended by perinatal specialists – midwives, perinatal psychologists, instructors in childbirth preparation, and infant swimming coaches. The attending experts stood at the origins of this movement and largely determined it: Marina Blank and Svetlana Anikina of “Vozrozhdenie” (“Renaissance”) family center, Marina Lyubimova of “Medunitsa” center, Natalia Kotlar of “Our Stork” center, Evgenia Igoshina of “Rozhayka” center, the author of the book “Home Birth – Healthy Child” (2005) Mikhail Fomin, Yulia Postnova of “Dragotsennost” (“Jewel”) center, as well as Alexandra Korolyova of “Dolphin” club.
Belooussova, E. (2002) The “Natural Childbirth” Movement in Russia: Self-Representation Strategies, Anthropology of East Europe Review, vol. 20, N 1, p. 11–18.
Belousova, E. (2012) Waterbirth and Russian-American Exchange: From the Iron Curtain to Facebook, Doctoral Dissertation, Rice University. (https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/64601) (01.08.2019).
Gaskin, I. M. (1975) Spiritual Midwifery. Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company.
Kuksa, T.L. (2018) Rasskazy o rodah i rodovspomozhenii v sovremennoj gorodskoj kul’ture [Narrativess about childbirth and obstetric care in modern urban culture], Master’s thesis, Moscow: RSUH.
Ozhiganova, А. (2009) Sovremennye perinatal’nye kul’tury: tradicionnaja i al’ternativnaja modeli [Modern perinatal cultures: traditional and alternative models], Polevye materialy Instituta jetnologii i antropologii RAN, 2006 [Field materials of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS, 2006], Moscow: IEA RAS, p. 63–82.
Ozhiganova, А. (2011) Rozhdenie “novogo cheloveka”: utopicheskij proekt dvizhenija za estestvennye rody [The Birth of a “New Man”: Utopian Project of the Natural Birth Movement], Konstruiruja detskoe (filologija, istorija, antropologija). Trudy seminara “Kul’tura detstva: normy, cennosti, praktiki”, RGGU [Designing a child (philology, history, anthropology). Proceedings of the seminar “Culture of childhood: norms, values, practices”, RSUH], Issue 9, Moscow – St. Petersburg: Azimut; Nestor-Istorija, p. 444–460.
Ozhiganova, A. (2019) Zabota o sebe, zabota o drugih: praktiki vzaimodejstvija zhenshhin i akusherok v domashnih rodah [Taking care of the Self, taking care of the others: the interaction practices between women and midwives in home births], Kriticheskaja sociologija zaboty: perekrestki social’nogo neravenstva [Critical sociology of care: the crossroads of social inequality], St. Petersburg: EUSP, p. 139 – 167.
Pivovarova, A. (2013) «Zabytaja» placenta: simvolicheskie dejstvija v sovremennoj praktike domashnih rodov [“Forgotten” Placenta: Symbolic Actions in Contemporary Home Birth], Antropologichesky Forum [Anthropological Forum] № 19 online, p. 106–127
Pivovarova, A. (2013) Konstruirovanie tradicii v sovremennoj praktike domashnih rodov [Construction of tradition in modern practice of home birth], Thesis for Master of Anthropology, European University at St. Petersburg.
Rabei, E.B. (2012) Domashnie rody v sovremennom gorode: konstruirovanie mifologii i obrjadnosti [Home birth in a modern city: the construction of mythology and rituals], Thesis in the specialty “Philology”, Moscow: RSUH.