Location

Room 222, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

control, power, homebirth, midwifery, medicalized birth, natural birth

Abstract

In this paper I examine why some women in the United States choose midwife attended homebirth over the medical model of birth. Why do women make this decision and what are the outcomes? I examined both qualitative and quantitative data on homebirths and have identified key reasons why women chose to give birth outside of the hospital. I focused on how the mother's feelings of control impacted her satisfaction with the birth experience, and how women’s control is affected in home versus hospitalized birth. My findings reveal that home births allow the woman more agency and an environment in which she feels empowered. In my research I focused on low-risk, planned home births, attended by a certified nurse midwife.

I was interested in finding out why some women are choosing home birth in a society where there is a strong cultural norm of giving birth in a hospital. Through my research, I found the main reason women choose home birth is because they strongly believe they have more control of the birth experience at home than in the hospital. I have identified two main factors that affect women's feelings of control during birth: (1) The health care provider’s ideas about interventions matching the mothers, and (2) the power balance between the healthcare provider and the mother.

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Apr 2nd, 3:30 PM Apr 2nd, 4:45 PM

Home v. Hospital: Power and Birth, An Examination of Control Within Birth Models in the United States

Room 222, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

In this paper I examine why some women in the United States choose midwife attended homebirth over the medical model of birth. Why do women make this decision and what are the outcomes? I examined both qualitative and quantitative data on homebirths and have identified key reasons why women chose to give birth outside of the hospital. I focused on how the mother's feelings of control impacted her satisfaction with the birth experience, and how women’s control is affected in home versus hospitalized birth. My findings reveal that home births allow the woman more agency and an environment in which she feels empowered. In my research I focused on low-risk, planned home births, attended by a certified nurse midwife.

I was interested in finding out why some women are choosing home birth in a society where there is a strong cultural norm of giving birth in a hospital. Through my research, I found the main reason women choose home birth is because they strongly believe they have more control of the birth experience at home than in the hospital. I have identified two main factors that affect women's feelings of control during birth: (1) The health care provider’s ideas about interventions matching the mothers, and (2) the power balance between the healthcare provider and the mother.