Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

The Farmer and the Obstetrician

Academic journal article Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology & Health

The Farmer and the Obstetrician

Article excerpt

The Farmer and the Obstetrician by Michel Odent (2002). London/New York: Free Association Books. 159 pp. ISBN: 1-85343-5651

Possibly Michel Odent's most important book to date, The Farmer & The Obstetrician details how agribusiness and the medical MANagement of childbirth were co-arising in the last century and the devastating impact these industries have had upon the Earth, along with society and families. In 159 pages that read more like a timely exposé than dry, scientific research, the author (an M.D.) suggests that we can help repair the devastation by adopting a sustainable model of childbirth care.

Odent analogizes what went wrong with industrialized agriculture as relevant to medicalized childbirth, through a historical narrative of the need each fills for humanity. In the case of agribusiness, the advent of chemical management of crops and livestock made it possible to grow quantities of food heretofore impossible. So it was with childbirth that at first, obstetrics was received with tremendous enthusiasm as the saving grace of women. Through the last century however, the dangers of pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, and antibiotics, to name some of the technological practices of farmers, are now making headline news. Likewise, obstetrics has become a topic for serious investigative journalism as the problematic consequences are becoming known.

At the close of the chapter titled, "Being a Midwife or an Obstetrician Before 2032," Odent writes, "Understanding the laws of nature and working with them . …

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