Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Ransom

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Nourse

Third Advisor

Dr. Eric Anthony Grollman


This case study examines the reproductive health care resources available to women living in a “delivery desert” context in Maine, as well as the personal and cultural factors that influence their reproductive health behaviors. Through ethnographic methodology and in-depth interviews, I demonstrate how cultural influences converge with issues of quality health care accessibility to affect reproductive health outcomes. The island is isolated from reliable, quality biomedical care, with the nearest hospital offering labor and delivery services located over an hour’s drive away. I define this situation as a “delivery desert”, describing the phenomenon of centralizing maternity care which endangers pregnant women and their children in rural communities and limits the informed choices they are able to make about their pregnancy and delivery. I suggest that utilizing midwives and planned home births be facilitated to work around the “delivery desert” conditions, in conjunction with improved emergency services. These findings may be relevant to other “delivery deserts” in the U.S. and have implications as qualitative research at the intersection of epidemiology and critical theories of the body.