Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

By Sandra Howell-White | Go to book overview

fascinating questions from a help-seeking perspective, and are also important questions for the health care providers.

The uniqueness of this project is emphasized by two important aspects. First, the choices of providers and settings were wider than those offered in other studied situations. All women had a choice of provider for at least their prenatal care, and only a few were medically ineligible for a choice of birth attendant. Additionally, women who were considered "low risk" had the option of a midwife-assisted birth in a homelike, out-of-hospital setting. Other studies that have focused on midwifery services have examined either hospital births or out-of-hospital births, not allowing both options in the same study. Second, the prospective design is unique. By collecting data at the beginning and end of the pregnancy, changes in attitudes and choices at the time of birth can be compared to the women's attitudes and expected behaviors early in pregnancy. The longitudinal design is critical to distinguishing preexisting beliefs about pregnancy, childbirth, and appropriate care providers from those that develop during pregnancy. Thus, experiences that reshape attitudes and behaviors can be better understood.


NOTES
1.
In fact, midwives attended only a little over 3 percent of all births in the United States in 1989 and less than I percent in New Jersey ( Declercq, 1993). Out-of-hospital births occur even less frequently. In 1989, only 1.5 percent of all births in the United States occurred out of the hospital ( Declercq, 1993). This rate includes unplanned out-of-hospital, home, and birthing center deliveries.
2.
This lessening of control is specific to childbirth care, and does not refer at all to the issue of birth control.
3.
When this arrangement began, three obstetricians and four primary midwives provided care for this HMO. All staff members were included in discussions during the study design phase.

-xvi-

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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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