By Wendy Simonds
Facing the polar forces of a plague of Cesarean sections and epidurals and home-like exertions rooms, American delivery is in transition. stuck among the main severe medicalization — top obvious in a Cesarean part cost of approximately 30 percentage — and a rhetoric of women’s ''choices'' and ''the natural,'' ladies and their midwives, doulas, obstetricians, and nurses exertions on. Laboring On bargains the voices of all of those practitioners, all girls attempting to support ladies, as they fight with this more and more break up imaginative and prescient of start.
Updating Barbara Katz Rothman's now-classic In Labor, the 1st feminist sociological research of beginning within the usa, Laboring On supplies a finished photograph of the ever-changing American start practices and infrequently conflicting visions of start practitioners. The authors deftly weave compelling bills of delivery paintings, via midwives, doulas, obstetricians, and nurses, into the bigger sociohistorical context of overall healthiness care practices and activism and supply provocative arguments in regards to the present scenario and the way forward for beginning in America.
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Extra info for Laboring On: Birth in Transition in the United States
I was repeatedly surprised at my students’ general resistance to the interpretations of the power dynamics Barbara offered there. After reading the book, students knew about midwives if they hadn’t before — and many confessed to thinking midwifery was “from the past,” an archaic or rural occupation. But most of them didn’t come to see midwives as uniquely qualified to attend births, as I felt they should have, so entrenched were they in the medical model’s conceptualization of birth as painful and perilous.
It isn’t. And, as I’ve discussed, over the course of this project I have experienced this sort of defensiveness myself. Ultimately, I have found it most productive when this defensiveness can be transformed into anger. One of the things that happened during my prolonged writing (and not-writing) process was that my anger would sometimes shift into exhaustion, and that is not a particularly productive emotional base from which to write. But luckily, I would always get pissed off again. And that’s my goal.
Then I would come back and reread the interviews and be reminded of what amazing philosophers midwives could be, and recapture my awe at activists truly and idealistically focused on one thing. I would also regain my fascination with those who expressed a more muddled view: women who still stood for midwifery ideals in a loose way, tilting at windmills, but also chipping away at things that seemed written in stone. For instance, take episiotomies. Midwives’ opposition to episiotomies appears to have had an effect on the episiotomy rate, which has declined gradually as nurse-midwives have entered the realm of hospital birth.