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The Role of the Midwife in the Normal Process

The statement does not seem radical to midwives. We have always been in the business of leveraging knowledge and experience to help women through pregnancy and childbirth as a smooth phase of their lives. While this may seem obvious to midwives, the idea of normal birth has been upended in the last few centuries, such that what is called a traditional birth involves lying down with monitors and IV tubes strung from various parts of the birthing mother’s body and a skilled surgeon waiting just outside the door with a sterile scalpel to intervene if necessary.Those women who choose a hospital birth find themselves treated as subjects for every tool available to modern medicine—whether they need it or not. Lavender and Kingdon (2005, p. 302) sum up the prevailing attitude by saying, ‘It is easy to surmise that in British society today, little value is placed on women’s unique capacity to give birth. technology is seen as progressive and birth without intervention ‘old-fashioned’ and high risk’. As a result of technology, the physiology and emotional states of women and their new babies are altered. We do not currently understand the effects of these alterations. they have been discounted as either minor or completely unimportant by the medical community. But, simply ask a woman who has experienced natural childbirth how the process went, and she will inevitably say it was quite wonderful. It feels good—or so her brain tells her later on if the birth proceeded normally without major intervention.

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