Birth Alternatives: How Women Select Childbirth Care

By Sandra Howell-White | Go to book overview

6

The Great Compromise

As in many of life's situations, the decisions as to who should attend one's birth and where it should take place are not simple ones. Women who have choices must reconcile a number of factors to eventually decide on a birth attendant and setting. As a number of studies ( Campanella et al., 1993; Goldman et al., 1993; Graham, Catanzarite, Bernstein, and VarelaGittings , 1990; Leavitt, 1987; McClain, 1983, 1987, 1990; Sakala, 1988; Sargent and Stark, 1987; Shapiro et al., 1983) have demonstrated, women make these selections based on their knowledge and previous experiences, social characteristics, and childbirth beliefs. As seen in the previous chapters, for example, women who selected the physician-hospital birth experience were motivated by a concern for potential risks and complications, while women who selected the CNM-birthing center experience were influenced by their desire for a "natural" nomnedicalized approach. Although these women's selections suggest two opposing views about birth, in reality, their choices merely illustrate opposing ends of a continuum of beliefs. Along this continuum from "natural" to "medical" event, lie those women who desire a "natural" experience in a location that offers the "security" of medical interventions should a complication occur. It is here on the continuum that one finds the women who selected the Certified Nurse Midwife provider and the hospital setting.

Athough these two service providers seem to offer philosophically diametrical approaches, this blend of services is often desired and/or accepted by women who view birth as a "normal" experience that has the potential for complication. To understand this particular mix of options, two contrasting questions must be addressed. On the one hand, if women who select this option advocate and desire a "natural" experience, why do

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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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