The Medicalization of Childbirth: A Necessary Change or a Lost Art?

Medicalization of childbirth
As we delve into the modern birthing experience, one term frequently comes into focus: the ‘medicalization of childbirth.’ It represents a significant shift from age-old, traditional birthing practices to a world dominated by medical intervention and clinical settings. But what does this change mean for mothers, and how does it impact the childbirth experience?

In days gone by, childbirth was often perceived as a largely natural process, with medical intervention employed only when necessary. However, modern perceptions tend to associate childbirth predominantly with the clinical settings of hospitals and the presence of medical equipment. The once-told tales of women giving birth alone in homes or fields are quickly fading into obscurity. This shift prompts a pressing question: How has childbirth become so medicalized?

In the realm of medical practice, which is often male-dominated, there’s a noticeable dwindling respect for traditional midwifery and the concept of the “healing woman.” This change has led to childbirth being viewed more as a medical event than a natural process. Yet, the discussions about the consequences of this shift on women’s birthing experiences have been surprisingly sparse. This dynamic is well examined in the context of Jeanne Achterberg’s book “Woman as Healer,” where she elaborates on historical episodes such as the witch hunts, highlighting how patriarchal structures have systematically marginalized women from the field of medicine.

From Midwives to Medicine: The Changing Face of Childbirth

In her insightful piece, “Medicalization of Childbirth as a Problematic”, Hatice Keskin, a scholar from Ankara Social Sciences University, delves into this issue. She explores the historical trajectory of childbirth’s medicalization and the influence it has had on women’s experiences, highlighting potential harms arising from an escalating dependency on medical interventions. The paper suggests that this medicalization has led to a loss of control for women during childbirth, restricting their options.

Continue reading the article on Medium.

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