Laboring On Birth in Transition in the United States

ISBN-10: 0415946638
ISBN-13: 9780415946636
Edition: 2007
List price: $41.95
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Description: Facing the polar forces of an epidemic of cesarean sections and epidurals and home-like labor rooms, American birth is in transition. Caught between the most extreme medicalization best seen in a cesarean section rate of nearly 30 percent and a  More...

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Book details

List price: $41.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Routledge
Publication date: 11/15/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 392
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.364
Language: English

Facing the polar forces of an epidemic of cesarean sections and epidurals and home-like labor rooms, American birth is in transition. Caught between the most extreme medicalization best seen in a cesarean section rate of nearly 30 percent and a rhetoric of women's "choices" and "the natural," women and their midwives, doulas, obstetricians, and nurses labor on. Laboring On offers the voices of all of these practitioners, all women trying to help women, as they struggle with this increasingly split vision of birth. Updating Barbara Katz Rothman's now-classic In Labor, the first feminist sociological analysis of birth in the United States, Laboring On gives a comprehensive picture of the ever-changing American birth practices and often conflicting visions of birth practitioners. The authors deftly weave compelling accounts of birth work, by midwives, doulas, obstetricians, and nurses, into the larger sociohistorical context of health care practices and activism and offerprovocative arguments about the current state of affairs and the future of birth in America.

A professor of sociology at Baruch College of the City University of New York, Barbara Katz Rothman specializes in the fields of reproductive health and childbirth. In particular, she seeks to describe the experience of motherhood within our contemporary, highly technologized, and fixed medical structure. Rothman's more recent books develop this theme while examining specific new procreative technologies and how these technologies act to alter the occasion of childbirth. Rothman is a strong critic of market-based assumptions that define babies as "products of conception." She argues that to treat fetuses simply as objects encased in a woman's uterus does not adequately describe the relationship between mother and child; it only leads to illogical arguments regarding reproductive policy and legal actions against pregnant women who do not follow doctors' orders. Furthermore, Rothman points out that parent's mistakes in childrearing are idiosyncratic, while those of professionals are more dangerous because they are systematic and based on such motivations as ideology, self-interest, or bureaucratic efficiency. Rothman received her B.A. from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (1969), and an M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1979) from New York University. Long associated with the City University of New York and also with the state university, Rothman favors a feminist-centered view of parental rights and responsibilities.

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