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Will you guys read over this??? Paper on Medicalization of Childbirth


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  #1  
November 20th, 2010, 03:18 PM
BoobyDutyAgainJen's Avatar Proud Mom & Birth Mom
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I know I don't post here all that often but it is in your aread of passion.

I chose to write my paper in my women and psychology class(fascinating class...LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!) on the medicalization of birth. I have spent hours upon hours on research and writing it but I am not sure if I have covered the full spectrum of the issue. Please please please tear it apart!!! If you see gramatical, punctuation, or spelling errors I would not be offended if you let me know...I need good eyes! I still have more space to write more so any other thoughts would be appreciated.

It is due Monday so if you have time I would greatly appreciate it. And if you don't and you just want to read it please do! I have not finished my "take home" message paragraph either by the way.


The Medicalization of Birth


The impact the male created and dominated field of modern medicine has had on the role of women in childbirth.


By Jen
Women and Psychology

Throughout time women have given birth with the assistance of other women. They delivered with midwives, experienced older relatives and friends, or even delivered their infants on their own. It was not until in the last century that childbirth has been stolen away from women and made to seem a medical affair. There were several ways this has been done. First, prejudice against women, minorities, immigrants, and the poor was used to defame midwives, the traditional outside birth assistant, in the hopes that there would be an influx of births in the hospital with doctors. Next, by declaring all women’s bodies as diseased and incapable of safely delivering a baby without medical assistance, the male dominated field of medicine was able to establish their conferred dominance in a field that they typically were not involved in. In addition, the introduction of anesthesia in childbirth resulted in women being drawn to deliver in hospitals to relieve themselves of “The Pain of Eve’s Sins,” or labor pains, as an act against the patriarchal demands of their society and as a way to equalize themselves in the workforce. Furthermore, this has been propagated into today’s time with increases in medical interventions and doctor heroics to a point where the United States mortality rates for childbirth and caesarean section rates are some of the worst rates in the modern, civilized world. Finally, media portrayal of childbirth has resulted in internalization of birth as the disease the medical profession must cure.
Around the turn of the century, vast developments in scientific knowledge and medicine led to a greater acceptance of medical knowledge and practice. As the medical profession grew, and they solidified their status and authority in the United States, they began expanding into the field of obstetrics. Women, up until this point, delivered with the assistance of other women-be it with their family members, close neighbors, or with a midwife. However, around the turn of the century the medical profession began an attack against midwives in order to elicit the business of childbirth. They recognized that they were missing out on the financial gains that the field of obstetrics offered. In order to take over the field of obstetrics, they started labeling midwives as dirty, old, foreign, and unknowledgeable. The medical institution began blaming maternal and infant deaths on midwives, when in fact maternal and infant deaths were a result of poor sanitation, poor living standards, and overworked women impregnated when they didn’t necessarily want to have children. In fact, the maternal and infant mortality rates were higher for doctors practicing at that point than for midwives! However, our patriarchal society and the medical field’s attack on midwives have led to a dramatic increase in births moving to the hospital. In 1900, about five percent of women delivered in the hospital with 1939 being the point in which more women delivered in the hospital than at home. At this point in time, about 98% of births in the United States occur in the hospital.
For centuries now, doctors have declared women’s bodies as abnormal-something to cure. With this andocentric mentality, childbirth became an illness which needed medical interventions. Dr. Edward Clarke wrote that women are incapable of anything other than reproducing and when challenged with other matters, such as education, their reproductive capacities were affected. At the same time, doctors such as S. Weir Mitchell declared illness as the key aspect of feminity. As this medicalizing of birth continued the need for a doctor to cure the female body of the illness of pregnancy became internalized into the society.
As Christianity was the majority religious force in the United States around the turn of the century, it was commonly believed that childbirth was painful as a result of Eve’s Sins. Women, hoping to shred themselves from these beliefs and to experience this new and in vogue birth, flocked to the hospitals for the newly offered painless birth. Around the turn of the century, this meant they handed themselves fully over to the medical establishment for a full array of medical interventions and “Twilight Sleep.” The woman arrived at the hospital, was shaved, received an enema, was given either chloroform or the combination of drugs to induce “Twilight Sleep,” and was tied to the bed due to the thrashing that ensued while medicated as such. She dilated and when ready the doctors used medical interventions, such as episiotomies and forceps, to manually remove the baby from the mother. It was commonly believed that with this painless birth came an easier recovery period and that with that women were equalizing themselves with men in the work force. In fact, the mothers felt every bit of the birth-they just could not remember it! The entire birth experience was a blank for these mothers and they often suffered afterwards for it. The bond between mother and child was damaged and the mothers often developed post-partum depression. Women eventually fought back from such disempowering births and united against this atrocity. However, it shows the impact the medical field has on controlling and medicating births unnecessarily for their ease. However, it is interesting to note, that early feminists used “Twilight Sleep” and other forms of painless birth to fight back from the thought that the pain of birth was a result of Eve’s Sins. Little did they know that they were replacing one sort of patriarchal control for another.
Birth without medical care, as it was hundreds of years ago, is not the intention when pointing out the faults of our current system of birth. Childbirth can be a dangerous time for mother and baby. Infant and mother mortality is still always a possibility and there are instances where medical interventions and doctor training save lives. However, the vast majority of women can deliver their infants without major medical interventions-in spite of the medical train of thought of pregnancy as a pathological illness worthy of intervention. The medicalization of birth, as it is in the 21st century in the United States, continues to proliferate a system where women’s bodies are seen as incapable, as diseased. The rates of maternal and infant mortality are some of the highest in the civilized world-forty other countries, including most industrialized countries, rank higher than the US in maternal deaths. One-third of all births in the hospital is a caesarean section. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the c-section rate to be kept at half that number. Doctors force interventions on unsuspecting mothers through internalized thoughts of medical superiority and knowledge. It is assumed that a doctor would recommend what was best for the mother and baby. However, their recommendations in child birth tend to be for their ease or are financially based. After all, the more interventions a woman receives the more money spent!
Lastly, the media portrayal of childbirth as pain-filled, medicalized, fast, and loud and dirty if not drugged has led to the internalization of such in the hearts of women and men in the US. Americans expect and want the doctors to cure them of their pregnancy disease! Lack of education, support, and knowledge of this normal, natural process has allowed women to be ignorant on the options available to them. The few times when the non-medicated example is shown in mainstream media it is thought of as animalistic or dirty. It is not the norm in this society so it is not good. However, knowledge is at the base root of the issue. If doctors move beyond their patriarchal-based care, into care that is informed decision based, allowing women the knowledge and right to decide their fate based on their and their child’s well-being, then the US medical system would surely improve.


Thanks a ton if you got this far!
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  #2  
November 20th, 2010, 04:30 PM
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I am bad at grammar myself but I don't think the sentence is worded right

Quote:
It was not until in the last century that childbirth has been stolen away from women and made to seem a medical affair.
...not until the last century that childbirth has been stolen ?

Quote:
Around the turn of the century, vast developments in scientific knowledge and medicine led to a greater acceptance of medical knowledge and practice. As the medical profession grew, and they solidified their status and authority in the United States, they began expanding into the field of obstetrics. Women, up until this point, delivered with the assistance of other women-be it with their family members, close neighbors, or with a midwife. However, around the turn of the century the medical profession began an attack against midwives in order to elicit the business of childbirth. They recognized that they were missing out on the financial gains that the field of obstetrics offered. In order to take over the field of obstetrics, they started labeling midwives as dirty, old, foreign, and unknowledgeable. The medical institution began blaming maternal and infant deaths on midwives, when in fact maternal and infant deaths were a result of poor sanitation, poor living standards, and overworked women impregnated when they didn’t necessarily want to have children. In fact, the maternal and infant mortality rates were higher for doctors practicing at that point than for midwives! However, our patriarchal society and the medical field’s attack on midwives have led to a dramatic increase in births moving to the hospital. In 1900, about five percent of women delivered in the hospital with 1939 being the point in which more women delivered in the hospital than at home. At this point in time, about 98% of births in the United States occur in the hospital.
nothing wrong with this, but I think that "turn of the century was used a bit too much, maybe just "around this same time period" or somthing like that

Quote:
As Christianity was the majority religious force in the United States around the turn of the century, it was commonly believed that childbirth was painful as a result of Eve’s Sins. Women, hoping to shred themselves from these beliefs and to experience this new and in vogue birth, flocked to the hospitals for the newly offered painless birth. Around the turn of the century, this meant they handed themselves fully over to the medical establishment for a full array of medical interventions and “Twilight Sleep.” The woman arrived at the hospital, was shaved, received an enema
I think it should be were shaved, were given an enema, ect.. maybe I
m wrong lol. Most likely am.

everything is great Jen. If you need to write more I would tal more about "intervention" that increases the risks of more medical needed intervention. Epidural, leads to slow progress which leads to c-section. Induction with pitocin, leads to more painful labor, leads to epidural.. takes long.. section ect
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  #3  
November 20th, 2010, 04:55 PM
BoobyDutyAgainJen's Avatar Proud Mom & Birth Mom
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Thanks for the feedback! Everything you suggested needed fixed! Thanks a ton!
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  #4  
November 20th, 2010, 04:56 PM
Kelllilee's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Overall, I think it's great!

I'm somewhat of a stickler for grammar so here's my take on some areas that could be improved or altered. Feel free to take what you want and leave the rest :



"They delivered with midwives, experienced older relatives and friends, or even delivered their infants on their own."

*might work better with a semi-colon (they delivered with midwives, experienced older relatives, and friends; many women delivered their infants on their own)

"First, prejudice against women, minorities, immigrants, and the poor was used to defame midwives, the traditional outside birth assistant, in the hopes that there would be an influx of births in the hospital with doctors."

*run-on sentence. Maybe split this into two sentences?


"Furthermore, this (be more specific, what "this" are you referring to?) has been propagated into today’s time with (through?) increases in medical interventions and doctor heroics to a point where the United States' mortality rates for childbirth and caesarean (cesarean) section rates are some of the worst rates in the modern, civilized world. (might sound better if you rephrase so as not to double up on the word "rates") Finally, media portrayal of childbirth has resulted in internalization of birth as the (a?) disease the medical profession must cure."

"As the medical profession grew, (no comma) and they solidified their status and authority in the United States, they began expanding into the field of obstetrics."

"However, around the turn of the century the medical profession began (mounted might be a stronger word) an attack against midwives in order to elicit the business of childbirth. They recognized that they were missing out on the financial gains that the field of obstetrics offered."

*you could probably put these two sentences together. The second sentence sounds a little choppy. Maybe "...the business of childbirth as they began to recognize the financial benefits obstetrics offered"

"However, our patriarchal society and the medical field’s attack on midwives [-]have[/-] led to a dramatic increase in births moving to the hospital."

"In 1900, about five percent of women delivered in the hospital with 1939 being the point in which more women delivered in the hospital than at home. At this point in time, about 98% of births in the United States occur in the hospital."

*a little confusing. Perhaps "In 1900, about five percent of women delivered in the hospital. In 1939 the number of women giving birth in the hospital began to outnumber those who birthed elsewhere. Currently about 98% of women in the United States deliver in hospitals."

"With this andocentric mentality, childbirth became an illness which needed (required?) medical interventions. Dr. Edward Clarke wrote that women are incapable of anything other than reproducing and when challenged with other matters, such as education, their reproductive capacities were affected. At the same time, doctors such as S. Weir Mitchell declared illness as the key aspect of feminity. (are these quotes?) As this medicalizing (medicalization?) of birth continued, the need for a doctor to cure the female body of the illness of pregnancy became internalized into the society."

"As Christianity was the majority (major) religious force in the United States around the turn of the century, it was commonly believed that childbirth was painful as a result of Eve’s Sins. Women, hoping to shred (remove/shed/detach?) themselves from these beliefs and to experience this new and in vogue birth, flocked to the hospitals for the newly offered painless birth. (simplify? - "new and in vogue birth" and "newly offered painless birth" don't sound quite right together) Around the turn of the century, this meant they handed themselves fully (completely?) over to the medical establishment for a full array of medical interventions and “Twilight Sleep.” The woman arrived at the hospital, was shaved, received an enema, was given either chloroform or the (a) combination of drugs to induce “Twilight Sleep,” and was tied to the bed due to the thrashing that ensued while medicated as such (this way or in this manner). She dilated (might be more effective/stronger to emphasize that she was left alone for hours until fully dilated) and when ready the doctors used medical interventions, such as episiotomies and forceps, to manually remove the baby from the mother. It was commonly believed that with this painless birth came an easier recovery period and that with that (thus?) women were equalizing themselves with men in the work force. In fact, the mothers felt every bit of the birth-they just could not remember it! The entire birth experience was a blank for these mothers and they often suffered afterwards for it (as a result). The bond between mother and child was damaged and the mothers often developed post-partum depression. Women eventually fought back from such (against these) disempowering births and united against this atrocity. However, it shows the impact the medical field has on controlling and medicating births unnecessarily for their ease. However,(remove this "however" since you just used it in the last sentence and it's unnecessary) it is interesting to note, that early feminists used “Twilight Sleep” and other forms of painless birth to fight back from (argue) the thought that the pain of birth was a result of Eve’s Sins. Little did they know that they were replacing one sort of patriarchal control for another."

"Birth without medical care, as it was hundreds of years ago, is not the intention when pointing out the faults of our current system of birth. Childbirth can be a dangerous time for mother and baby. Infant and mother (maternal) mortality is(complications are) still always a possibility and there are instances where (when) medical interventions and doctor training save lives. However, the vast majority of women can deliver their infants without major medical interventions-in spite of (despite) the medical train of thought of (that) pregnancy as (is) a pathological illness worthy of intervention. The medicalization of birth, as it is in the 21st century in the United States, continues to proliferate a system where women’s bodies are seen as incapable, as diseased. The rates of maternal and infant mortality are some of the highest in the civilized world-(semi-colon)forty other countries, including most industrialized countries, rank higher (better - higher makes it sound like they have more deaths) than the US in maternal deaths. One-third of all births in the hospital (simplify to "hospital births) is a (are via) caesarean (cesarean) section. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the c-section rate to be kept at half that number (maybe better phrased as "recommends an ideal c-section rate half of what the US maintains). Doctors force interventions on unsuspecting mothers through internalized thoughts of medical superiority and knowledge. It is assumed that a doctor would recommend what was best for the mother and baby. However, their recommendations in child birth tend to be for their ease or are financially based. After all, the more interventions a woman receives the more money spent!" *maybe include that many doctors believe they are doing what is in the best interests of the woman because their teaching is flawed and not evidence-based

"Lastly, the media portrayal of childbirth as pain-filled, medicalized, fast, [-]and[/-] , loud and dirty if not drugged has led to the internalization of such (these thoughts/beliefs) in the hearts of women and men in the US. Americans expect and want the doctors to cure them of their pregnancy disease! Lack of education, support, and knowledge of this normal, natural process has allowed women to be ignorant on the options available to them. The few times when the non-medicated example is shown in mainstream media it is thought of as animalistic or dirty. (or portrayed as scary and risky) It is not the norm in this society so it is not good. However, knowledge is at the base root of the issue. If doctors move beyond their patriarchal-based care, into care that is informed decision based, (and evidence-based) allowing women the knowledge and right to decide their fate based on their and their child’s well-being, then the US medical system would surely improve." *this last sentence runs on a bit, not sure how i would rephrase it though

Hopefully that wasn't too much! I think you did pretty good covering all the bases. You don't have much time, but you could point out some examples where doctors use treatments on pregnant women that they later find out are not good. Similar to twilight sleep, there are medications that were given that later were found to cause severe birth defects, and a couple others. The stereotypical male mindset of being "right" until proven wrong
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  #5  
November 20th, 2010, 05:40 PM
BoobyDutyAgainJen's Avatar Proud Mom & Birth Mom
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Great ideas and feedback!! I will definitely be adjusting these! You make good points!
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  #6  
November 20th, 2010, 08:07 PM
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Maybe you could add something about Drs convincing women they've "saved" them and their babies from death, by convincing them that breech and multiple births were cause for alarm. Even though neither were exceedingly common, they also weren't unheard of. Or the recent one about convincing just about every woman that they are going to deliver a "big baby" and that their pelvises just won't be able to take it. I know, this could probably add another whole page.
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  #7  
November 21st, 2010, 02:36 PM
K_photo_mom's Avatar Krista
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These are a couple things that I see...


There were several ways this has been done.

There are several ways....

the United States mortality rates for childbirth and caesarean section rates are some of the worst rates in the modern, civilized world.

The United States mortality rate for childbirth and Cesarean section rate are some of the worst in the modern civilized, world.

financial gains that the field of obstetrics offered. In order to take over the field of obstetrics, they started

financial gains that the field of obstetrics offered. In order to take over, they started

The medical institution began blaming maternal and infant deaths on midwives, when in fact maternal and infant deaths were a result

The medical institution began blaming maternal and infant deaths on midwives, when in fact these deaths were a result
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  #8  
November 21st, 2010, 04:24 PM
BoobyDutyAgainJen's Avatar Proud Mom & Birth Mom
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Thanks a bunch Krista and PixieQueen!

I really appreciate all the help ladies!! With all your sharp eyes I feel a lot better turning it in tomorrow! Thanks a ton to all that have helped! If anyone sees anymore or has any more ideas I usually stay up some what late.
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