Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

By Sandra Howell-White | Go to book overview

Introduction

This book focuses on the importance of women's childbirth care choices. First, it considers the impact that a woman's choice has on her own pregnancy and childbirth experience. For instance, what type of prenatal experience does a woman have with an obstetrician? How does this differ from Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) prenatal care? Second, it considers the impact of women's decisions about their care providers on the development and growth of the care provider's profession. As our health care beliefs become more consumer oriented, choices made today have an impact on the availability of options tomorrow-- just as the homogeneity of today's birth experiences reflects the choices that women have made over the last 80 years. 1 For instance, as women came to support physicians' jurisdiction over the birth process, the medical profession flourished while midwifery was practically exiled to the poor and rural areas. These historical changes severely limited the range of options currently available to women. Today, having choices in childbirth care-- such as selecting a CNM or an out-of-hospital birth setting-- are not the norm in our society. Some women, however, are beginning to actively seek out and select alternative birth providers and settings. These women's selections are already having, and will continue to have, a profound impact on the different professionals and organizations that provide childbirth care services.

One primary goal of this work is to allow the women's own voices to illustrate and underscore the importance of their pregnancy and childbirth care choices. It is very common, and correct, that women are often seen as having very little control or choice in their lives. While women are

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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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