Midwifery and Childbirth in America
by Judith Rooks
Temple University Press, 1999
eISBN: 978-1-4399-0623-1 | Paper: 978-1-56639-711-7 | Cloth: 978-1-56639-565-6
Library of Congress Classification RG950.R66 1997
Dewey Decimal Classification 362.198202330973

Having a baby is an elemental human experience -- profound, even sacred to some women and their families. At the same time, it is a significant component of health care. The medical model of childbirth emphasizes the pathological potential of pregnancy and birth, while an alternative model championed by midwives focuses on the normalcy of pregnancy and its potential for health. Now available in paperback, this definitive account of the many forces that intersect over the issue of childbirth explains in a comprehensive and authoritative manner the conceptual and philosophical differences between these models. The author has brought together in in a clear and readable fashion the myriad strands of history, culture, science, economics, and policy that have resulted in the current condition of maternity care in the United States. She describes the disparate backgrounds, training, and roles of certified nurse-midwives and lay or direct entry midwives, and explains the contributions of both groups. Rooks believes that maternity care and childbirth in America can, and should, be better than it is today, and offers steps to take in the direction.

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