Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

By Sandra Howell-White | Go to book overview

2
Conception

In the beginning of any pregnancy, women are confronted with a number of choices. Many of these choices surround the issue of who shall provide prenatal and delivery care, and where these services are to take place. Ideally, women should be able to learn about the different services, and then make their selections based on their own needs and preferences. For most women, however, these choices are constrained by the resources available in their community, distance from alternatives, ability to pay for particular providers and settings, and their third-party payers. These constraints also make studying how women make their selections more difficult. This study, therefore, strives to examine how women's preferences and needs influence choice in the absence of these constraints. Specifically, this study examines how women in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) selected among two types of birth attendants and settings, and how satisfied they were with those experiences. Before examining the reasons why women made their selections and the impact of those choices, one must first examine the context within which these choices were made. Although the typical financial and organizational restrictions are absent, there are constraining circumstances in every study. This chapter, therefore, strives to depict the environment in which these women, providers, and settings existed. First, a brief delineation of how and why this study came about is in order. Then, I will discuss some of the practical issues involved in the study, such as how women learned about these unique options. Next, I will describe the characters and settings associated with each type of care choice. Finally, I will outline the uniqueness and important aspects of the study.

-19-

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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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