Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

By Sandra Howell-White | Go to book overview

medical community, these findings suggest that women, in light of alternatives, actively chose the obstetrician-hospital birth because they believed them to be the most appropriate provider and setting. After all, trust and belief in one's care providers are critical to the success of the provider-patient relationship. In sum, these results illustrate women's continued support for both the "medicalized" childbirth definition and physicians' and hospitals' jurisdiction over childbirth.


NOTES
1.
This includes normal gynecological services as well as prenatal and delivery care.
2.
I refer to the obstetrician-hospital birth as traditional only because this type of birth experience has dominated the United States for the last 70 years. Although midwives were traditional birth providers prior to this time, and still are in much of the world, these women and even their mothers have grown up in a world were physicians dominate the practice of birth. Therefore, for these women an obstetrician-attended hospital birth is deemed traditional, while midwife and out-of-hospital births are considered "alternative."
3.
These items (see reference for more detail) were taken from two scales developed by Yankelovich and White ( 1977).
4.
Although some respondents may be aware of the inherent risks involved in a medically managed birth, risk was defined as the "potential for complications." This means that women who believe childbirth is a "natural" phenomenon perceive childbirth as less risky than those who see childbirth as a "medical" procedure.
5.
To control for the effects of multicollinearity, not all of the above measures were included in the regression. Moreover, some of the variables were factored together. For instance, the three social support measures were combined into one scale (alpha=.65).
6.
All of the women who delivered by C-section were excluded from this discussion. Even though some women attempted labor, there was no way to estimate the mean length of labor. Since these women were not sectioned at the same point within their labor, an average length would not be meaningful.
7.
Braxton-Hicks contractions usually occur in the last trimester and are a way of preparing the body for "real" contractions. While sometimes lasting up to two minutes, they do not result in delivery. By the end of the pregnancy, these contractions can become intense and sometimes painful, and are therefore difficult to discern from "real" labor.
8.
This high use of technology is not necessarily unexpected given the fact that 17 of these women developed complications that warranted an obstetrician delivery.

-92-

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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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