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Matronas: The Struggle to Protect Birth In El Salvador cover image

Matronas: The Struggle to Protect Birth In El Salvador 2021


Distributed by epf media, 324 S. Beverly Drive, PMB 437, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; 310-839-1500
Produced by Noemí Delgado and Shara Lili
Directed by Noemí Delgado and Shara Lili
Streaming, 28 mins

High School - General Adult
Childbirth; Holistic medicine; Women's health

Date Entered: 02/18/2022

Reviewed by Lara Fountaine, Community Engagement and Visitor Relations Librarian, NC State University Libraries

In El Salvador, the traditional practice of midwifery and homebirths was once the norm but is now strictly prohibited. This has created a birthing crisis in the country as women are forced to deliver their babies in hospitals with little to no autonomy. Matronas explores the important role of Salvadoran midwives and the struggles they face trying to keep their communities safe through their life-saving practices.

This documentary packs a lot of information in just about 30 minutes which can sometimes make the film feel rushed. This is particularly felt in the beginning when the viewer is introduced to the Salvadoran Civil War. There is a lack of context for the viewer and the section feels very disjointed from the rest of the film. The narrative feels smoother when it switches back to present day, and we hear interviews from the midwives along with stories from the women of El Salvador. If presenting this film, I recommend providing the audience with a brief overview of the civil war to help with any confusion that may arise from viewing.

Matronas is recommended for anyone interested in midwifery practices and birth justice. It brings to light the harsh realities El Salvadoran women face and a call to action to protect the ancestral practices of midwifery in the country.

Best Cinematography, Documentary Short Film Festival; Official Selection, San Diego Latino Film Festival; Audience Award Best Short Documentary, San Diego Latino Festival; Official Selection, Oakland Short Film Festival

Published and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Anyone can use these reviews, so long as they comply with the terms of the license.