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Epiduralized Birth and Nurse-Midwifery

Childbirth in the United States. a Medical Ethnography



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Epiduralized Birth and Nurse-Midwifery by Maureen May Phd
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There exists an abundance of books about childbirth. What has been missing is a work that describes American childbirth from an ethnographic standpoint, utilizing the rich, insightful data that can only be derived from real-life observations of childbirth. This new ethnography, Epiduralized Birth and Nurse-Midwifery: Childbirth in the United States, helps to meet that need. It examines the state of maternity care in the United States through the lens of one midwifery service at a community hospital. The author has based the ethnography on her 2014 dissertation. (Research included a year of on-site observation and interviews.) It is a significant addition to the study of American childbirth and nurse-midwifery. The book describes recent developments in maternity care, what the author refers to as epiduralized birth: a way of birth that is antithetical to ecological birth. The book also describes care provided by a nurse-midwifery service, care that involves a "normality paradox" among midwives who must negotiate highly technicalized care that often runs contrary to their professional and personal values. Epiduralized birth is an assembly-line process where all interventions are integrated, inseparable, and interdependent elements of a single process - a process that has the epidural at its core. Birth has moved beyond the cascade of interventions. The cascade of interventions has been standardized to make up a systematic, interdependent group of elements that make up a highly technical process: a process that includes all interventions as an entirety, as in a well-oiled machine. Industrialized birth is discussed with rich, detailed ethnographic data. This medical ethnography is interdisciplinary. As such, it has much to offer a variety of disciplines including but not limited to the study of childbirth, women's health, anthropology, sociology, health care sciences, public policy, and women's studies.
Release date NZ
March 25th, 2017
Country of Publication
United States
black & white illustrations
Maureen May
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