Purdue University Graduate School
S. Tuller Thesis 10_11_19.pdf (805.41 kB)

Causes and Consequences of Rising Cesarean Rates in Yucatec Maya Farmers

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posted on 2019-10-17, 19:47 authored by Sydney M TullerSydney M Tuller
This project is concerned with obstetric complications and cesarean births in a Yucatec Maya community that has recently began interacting with global market economies and Western biomedicine. ​This research engages with maternal health, reproductive biology, colonial histories, and the global trend of increasing cesarean births. The Yucatec Maya are a short statured population [average adult female height 2010 = 143.2 cm] with historically low obstetric complications and maternal mortality. In the last 30 years, CS rates have risen to account for 25% of all births in this community. Because extreme short stature for population has been linked to obstructed labor and birth complications, this project was designed to determine if stature is impacting the rising rate of CS. Reproductive outcomes and obstetric complications were modeled against height in 3 age cohorts of mothers using one-way ANOVA with a Bonferroni-post hoc test and univariate general linear models. No statistical evidence was found to indicate that stature is related to reproductive outcomes or obstetric complications; however, there is an association between short stature and likelihood of cesarean birth. The dramatic change in birth mode in this population may be attributed to increased availability of biomedical resources, doctor-driven perceptions of indigenous women, and low capacity of rural public hospitals to serve numerous patients in labor.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Anthropology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Amanda Veile

Additional Committee Member 2

Michele Buzon

Additional Committee Member 3

Melissa Remis

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