A Qualitative Study of Women Who Use Midwives for Childbirth




Osterkamp, Staci Ruth

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Childbirth in America is a highly medicalized experience. Women who choose to go outside of this norm are viewed as deviant by others in society because women who use midwives reject the cultural expectation of medicalized birth. Utilizing in-depth interviews with fifteen women, this study provides an understanding of how and why some women choose to go against the norm of medicalized birth. These women rejected the idea of the necessity of intervention in childbirth. They sought out alternative views, engaged in meaning making, and formed their own perspectives on childbirth. Each woman encountered some negative reactions to their decision to use a midwife; however, the women in this study had social support that enabled them to oppose the cultural norms. Some of the women overcame the stigma associated with deviating from the norm of medicalized birth through becoming activists in favor of midwifery, and others simply avoided people who embraced the medical approach and criticized their decision.



Medicalization, Childbirth, Midwifery, American women


Osterkamp, S. R. (2007). <i>A qualitative study of women who use midwives for childbirth</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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