Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

Synopsis

A woman's childbirth care choices have a profound effect on her pregnancy and childbirth experience. Today, some pregnant women have three different options to choose from: obstetrical care and a hospital birth, a midwife-assisted birth in a hospital, and a midwife-assisted birth at an out-of-hospital birthing center. By using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, this volume examines how and why 200 women made their choices, how satisfied they were with the care they received, and the impact of their choices on the availability of options in the future. Although most women in the U.S. still choose an obstetrician and a hospital setting, the number of women who choose to be assisted by a Certified Nurse Midwife is growing with the result that this profession is acquiring new strength and jurisdiction over childbirth care.

Excerpt

When I started to work on this project, I spent a great deal of time reading about women and childbirth. I was intrigued by the historical changes that have taken place in the arena of childbirth care. I was also fascinated by the ever changing role of women both as childbearer and caregiver. I wanted to bring that sense of change, and the power or potential for change, to this work. I hope that I have accomplished this goal. More importantly, I hope that I have done so by having the women in this study illustrate these changes. I am deeply indebted to these women for not only contributing time to me, but also for allowing me to hear about a very personal and important event in their lives. For their openness and sharing, I am grateful.

I wish I could take credit for envisioning this study, and then searching out the organizations and providers who gave me such access. Rather I must acknowledge that a Health Maintenance Organization approached the organization that I was with about what they felt was a unique situation. They wanted to find out whether their members were satisfied. We (my colleagues and I) took this very welcome opportunity to expand a business question into a research project. The organization's high level of cooperation gave me a wide range of opportunities that only enhanced the study's findings. To their credit, the organization, its providers, and staff also offered us a climate of collaboration that allowed us to independently design and implement the study. This level of respect for our research methods was greatly appreciated.

Lastly, I would like to thank my colleagues and advisors, David Mechanic, Ellen Idler, Lee Clarke, and Peter Guarnaccia, who helped me . . .

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