Birth By Design: Pregnancy, Maternity Care and Midwifery in by R. De Vries

By R. De Vries

This assortment brings jointly the top learn in maternity care from the USA, Canada and Europe to debate structures of take care of being pregnant and childbirth. start via Design's essays concentrate on the sensible facet of 'good' social technological know-how and 'feminist pleasant' learn. it is a ground-breaking paintings that appears not just at maternity, but additionally the act of childbirth. The aim of delivery via layout is to supply not only comparative views of care, yet to combine the variations in care inside each one essay for a really foreign realizing of maternity care.

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Extra info for Birth By Design: Pregnancy, Maternity Care and Midwifery in North America and Europe

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Researchers, most notably Campbell and MacFarlane (1994), have analyzed the reasons for this decline. High infant mortality at the turn of the century lead to the establishment of maternity and child welfare systems and to the hospitalization of high-risk births. There was a general movement toward the institutionalization of birth in Britain in the early twentieth century, but the emphasis was on maternity homes with less than twenty beds. A 1920 memorandum from the Ministry of Health called for these maternity homes to provide for normal confinements, while in larger communities maternity hospitals with up to fifty beds would serve higher-risk cases.

Hospitals came to be seen as the place for “proper women” to have their babies. Immigrant mothers recognized hospital birth as a wholly American practice, a mark of assimilation into a new society (Borst 1995). It is easy to think of the hospitalization of birth as solely a battle among professionals, but the Twilight Sleep campaign serves as a reminder of the important and ironic role played by elements of the early twentieth-century women’s movement in the United States. In seeking to free women of childbirth pain, they also contributed to the hospitalization of birth.

Therefore moving birth to hospitals, advocated as a goal in itself, was also a powerful weapon in the campaign to eliminate midwives. Equally important, midwives, divided by ethnic differences and lacking a sense of profession, failed to work together to protect their own interests. 12 BIRTH BY DESIGN Many of these efforts would have been impossible without the redefinition of birth from a natural event to one of “imposing pathologic dignity” (Litoff 1978, p. 67). In addition to the transformation of the hospital, the redefinition of birth was actively going on in the United States as well.

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