Factors in the selection of home birth : a comparative study of birthing alternatives in western Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/kk91fq703

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  • Increasing demand for home birth has created an upheaval in the American medical profession and, is a controversial political and legal issue as well. This research, utilizing ethnographic, historical, and survey data analyzes contemporary home birth. A review of the so called "medicalization" of childbirth is presented noting that the majority of medical developments which made childbirth safer did not necessitate hospitalization. In Oregon, the whole spectrum of birthing alternatives are legally available although midwifery statutes have not yet evolved to a stable point. In order to distinguish the characteristics of those who choose home birth, a survey questionnaire was designed to ascertain important factors influencing the woman's decision about what type of delivery to have. The survey was completed by 83 women who had recently given birth in a tri-county area of western Oregon where the home birth rate averaged five percent. The results revealed several factors on which women who chose home birth differed markedly from those who chose hospital delivery. Home birth women did not accept society's definition that childbirth is a medical event at its onset. Rather, they made a distinction between a normal and a complicated delivery that the larger culture did not. In addition, the majority of the women, regardless of the place of delivery, exhibited a high degree of consumerism, were educated about childbirth, and expressed concern over obstetrical intervention. Thus, it is suggested that elected home birth is part of the current pressure to deinstitutionalize the American health care system.
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