Friday, March 29, 2013

Week 10 Searcher: The Midwife as a Status Symbol

          The concept of midwifery really triggered some thought for me this week. I’ll be honest that I had forgotten about midwives. Even housecall doctors I assumed were a rare sighting and a practice of the past. Especially since I’ve always wanted to become a physician and admired their life-saving capabilities and knowledge, the concept of a hospital being a place of harm rather than healing was very foreign to me. Sure, the hospital isn’t perfect and neither is the law, given physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, patient autonomy, medical malpractice, etc…However, it never occurred to me that birthing—such an ongoing and natural process—was an area of issue in hospital practice. 
            Viewing The Business of Being Born really changed my perspective on how I viewed the birthing process and what the birthing process means to women. Giving birth is powerful, natural, and every other organism on earth does it without fuss, so why has it become such a complicated ordeal for humans? The goal of midwives seems to be to help women return to the natural birthing process as well as allowing women to experience their own birth without unnecessary interference. Though the documentary portrayed midwifery as a rare practice in the United States, a TIME article, The Midwife as Status Symbol, spoke otherwise. Personally, I can see the use of midwives becoming a trend in the states. People in society tend to gravitate towards revived and unique techniques as a means of social status, personal fulfillment, curiosity, etc…just think vintage clothing and fad diets! Being a hip and healthy method, I could very well see the young generation reaching out to midwives in order to achieve a natural, earthly birth. After all, who wouldn’t want the best for their baby?
            The only issue that the article mentioned in regards to using midwives is their limited availability. Because midwives need time forming a dedicated and personal relationship with the mother, they may only be able to assist in 20 births a month. Availability could quickly fill up with a particular midwife and your baby isn’t going to wait to come out! In viewing the second half of the documentary tomorrow, I am hoping to learn if there are any more complications that could arise with midwives.

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