The January/February 2008 issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, and Neonatal Nursing contains an extensive article on "The Emergence of High-Tech Birthing." You can read the full text of the article on the Birthfriend blog. The article urges nurses to find ways to support normal birth within a high-tech environment and also urges them to strive for balance between both aspects of care--providing "high touch" components along with technology "as needed" (not "routinely"!).
A suggestion from the article that I particularly liked was: "Become a vocal advocate for normal birth in your community. Share positive messages about childbirth with the young women in your life before they become pregnant. Begin these discussions with your daughters, your granddaughters, and any other young women in your life. Nurses have the power to begin a campaign of 'social marketing' in their communities to counter the negative impressions given to women by the media. Social marketing has worked to promote change in other areas of perinatal care(importance of prenatal care, prevention of preterm labor, and breastfeeding), so a campaign to promote normal birth also could work."
Another interesting point made in the article is with regard to the current generation of birthing women's experience with, familiarity with, and reliance on technology: "The iGeneration is used to and comfortable with technology. They have known nothing other than fast-food restaurants, microwave cooking, drive-through banking and pharmacies, and fast easy access to communication and information. A technologically managed labor and birth that can be fast and efficient is not a negative concept [to them] and is not likely to be challenged." (emphasis mine. I think this is an important concept to keep in mind when we as birth advocates strive to reach pregnant women with evidence based information and support.)
Thanks to the Woman to Woman blog for the link to this article in the first place. Lots of food for blog-thought!