Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

By Sandra Howell-White | Go to book overview

Preface

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

-xi-

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Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Sociology ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Notes xvi
  • 1 - The Importance of Choice 1
  • 2 - Conception 19
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - In the Beginning: Prenatal Care 33
  • Notes 59
  • 4 - The Traditional Birth Experience 61
  • Notes 92
  • 5 - The Natural" Birth" 95
  • Notes 111
  • 6 113
  • Notes 137
  • 7 - After the Birth 139
  • Notes 150
  • Bibliography 151
  • Index 161
  • About the Author 165
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