Medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth in our culture

For this discussion question, please consider the medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth in our culture. Reviewing your textbook’s section on direct-entry midwives might be useful. One scholar explains that medicalized pregnancy “involves interpreting pregnancy itself as a disruption to health that necessarily requires expert medical intervention and thinking of pregnancy as primarily about health and illness” (Mullin 2005, 54)*.


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Similarly, childbirth has been increasingly medicalized in the developed world – a process that results in some indisputable benefits (for example, prevention of placenta previa, ectopic pregnancy and a myriad of childbirth complication) as well as routinization of medical practices that don’t necessarily benefit the mother or child (fetal monitoring, labor-inducing drugs, epidurals, episiotomies, caesarian sections, etc.). For this post, please select and discuss one positive and one negative aspect of medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth – how can it benefit or negatively affect us, as consumers of health care, as medical professionals, as parents, as children, as a culture at large?

*Mullin, Amy, 2005, Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare: Ethics, Experience, and Reproductive Labor.

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