Embodying difference. Health care, culture and childbearing through the experiences of Moroccan migrant women in Italy

This article raises some questions on reproductive and maternal health among Moroccan migrant women in Italy. I will focus on women’s experiences of childbearing in the framework of their immigration processes and in relation to some ‘culturally sensitive’ measures fostered by public health services in dealing with migrant users. In doing so, I will draw attention to the ways health services conceive, produce and deal with differences while providing health care. Nonetheless, conceiving the strategies for the improvement of the access of migrant women to reproductive health in a mere culturalist sense may oversimplify and discipline the women’s needs. Indeed, the outcome of such approaches may consist in the differentiation of migrants’ from non-migrant users’ access to public health resources. At the same time, I shall argue that the socio-cultural construction of pregnancy and maternity for Moroccan migrant women is to be problematised in relation to biomedicine. In the context of immigration this may actually be seen as a social and symbolic framework within which women negotiate the meaning of such events.