Based on personal accounts by birthing women and their medical attendants, Brought to Bed reveals how childbirth has changed from colonial times to the present.
Judith Walzer Leavitt's study focuses on the traditional woman-centered home-birthing practices, their replacement by male doctors, and the movement from the home to the hospital. She explains that childbearing women and their physicians gradually changed birth places because they believed the increased medicalization would make giving birth safer and more comfortable. Ironically, because of infection, infant and maternal mortality did not immediately decline. She concludes that birthing women held considerable power in determining labor and delivery events as long as childbirth remained in the home. The move to the hospital in the twentieth century gave the medical profession the upper hand. Leavitt also discusses recent events in American obstetrics that illustrate how women have attempted to retrieve some of the traditional women--and family--centered aspects of childbirth.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||8.00(w) x 5.31(h) x 0.64(d)|
Table of Contents
|1||"Under the Shadow of Maternity": Childbirth and Women's Lives in America||13|
|2||"Science" Enters the Birthing Room: The Impact of Physician Obstetrics||36|
|3||"Overcivilization and Maternity": Differences in Women's Childbirth Experiences||64|
|4||"Only a Woman Can Know": The Role of Gender in the Birthing Room||87|
|5||"The Greatest Blessing of This Age": Pain Relief in Obstetrics||116|
|6||Why Women Suffer So: Meddlesome Midwifery and Scrupulous Cleanliness||142|
|7||"Alone Among Strangers": Birth Moves to the Hospital||171|
|8||Decision-Making and the Process of Change||196|
|Chronology of Events in Childbirth History||263|
|Glossary of Medical Terms||271|