Monday, February 16, 2009

Article on American Maternity Care

From Sociological Research Online: Born in the USA: Exceptionalism in Maternity Care Organisation Among High-Income Countries

Two quotes I liked:

"The use of sophisticated technology during normal, uncomplicated childbirth also helps to explain how the management of birth by physicians has come to be seen as 'heroic.' But in fact, for the majority of women, pregnancy and childbirth are neither rare, nor pathological, events (van Teijlingen 2005; Davis-Floyd 1987). The medicalisation of childbirth obscures this fact. Most lay people know nothing about how ordinary women experience birth, nor do they understand the many and varied ways of organising birth safely. Rather, the taken-for-granted idea of childbirth as a frightening and dangerous event constitutes the dominant cultural representation of pregnancy and birth. A society's understanding of birth as risky affects the way maternity care is organised, how care is delivered, and what women come to expect of maternity services and, ultimately, birth itself." (emphasis mine)

Regarding birth in the media: "To be sure, it would be simplistic to claim that most of the knowledge of birth that residents of US have comes from the media. Furthermore, this kind of media imagery is not unique to the US. Analysis of media portrayals of birth in the UK shows that having a child is unrealistically risky for a television character (Clement 1998). Nevertheless, it is evident that the framing of birth as risky and traumatic by media in the US is influential in shaping how people think and act."

Molly Remer
CfM Blogger

1 comment:

Edwin van Teijlingen said...

As an academic and one of the authors of this paper published in Sociological Research Online earlier this year I am pleased to see that this information/ knowledge is used in wider discussions on the organisation of maternity care.

Edwin van Teijlingen
Professor of Maternal & Perinatal Health Research, Bournemouth University, UK