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How Midwives Work

        Culture | Subcultures

How Midwives Work: Author's Note
Molly Edmonds, Staff Writer
Molly Edmonds, Staff Writer
hsw 2009

Stuff Mom Never Told You is a podcast that deals with lots of issues related to women, including childbirth. In my time as a co-host of the show, one of the most oft-requested topics by our listeners was midwives. It seems that podcast listeners were immensely interested in natural childbirth and the role that midwives can play in that process, and they're not the only ones -- statistics show that more and more women in the U.S. are employing midwives, rather than doctors, to oversee the arrival of their child.

Though they're a popular option now, midwives have had a rocky road to walk through history. Once branded as witches in Europe, midwives fell out of vogue in the U.S. in the early 1900s when physicians waged an effective public relations campaign that they offered safer services. In the past few decades, however, women have found that giving birth naturally, without medical intervention, can be a very empowering and worthwhile thing to do. Using a midwife can reduce the risk of medical interventions, though these practitioners still have a prickly relationship with doctors.

When we released the Stuff Mom Never Told You episode about midwives, we heard from many listeners who used a midwife and loved the experience. A midwife may not be for everyone, though, so do your research and evaluate your options before making your final childbirth decisions.

Sources

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  • Encyclopedia Britannica. "Midwifery." (April 12, 2011) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/381708/midwifery
  • Faulkner, Jeanne. "Thoroughly modern midwives." Fit Pregnancy. December 2010/January 2011.
  • Granju, Katie Allison. "The midwife of modern midwifery." Salon. June 1, 1999. (March 30, 2011) http://www.salon.com/people/bc/1999/06/01/gaskin
  • KidsHealth from Nemours. "Midwives." February 2008. (March 30, 2011) http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/childbirth/midwives.html
  • Lewin, Tamar. "Midwives Deliver Healthy Babies with Fewer Interventions." The New York Times. April 18, 1997. (March 30, 2011) http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02E7DA103FF93BA25757C0A961958260
  • Liptak, Adam. "Prosecution of Midwife Casts Light on Home Births." New York Times. April 3, 2006. (March 30, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/03/us/03midwife.html
  • Oregon State University. "Conflict Between Doctors, Midwives Over Homebirth." ScienceDaily. May 15, 2009. (March 30, 2011) http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2009/05/090511151616.htm
  • Reaves, Jessica. "Use of Midwives Rises, Challenging the State to Respond." The New York Times. Sept. 23, 2010. (March 30, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/us/24cncmidwives.html
  • Sullivan, Nancy. "A Short History of Midwifery." MidwifeInfo. March 6, 2002. (March 30, 2011) http://midwifeinfo.com/articles/a-short-history-of-midwifery
  • Time. "Medicine: Rebirth for Midwifery." Aug. 29, 1977. (March 30, 2011) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,915357,00.html
  • Time. "Medicine: Return of the Midwife." Nov. 20, 1972. (March 30, 2011) http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,712201,00.html
  • WebMD. "Certified Nurse-Midwives, Certified Midwives, and More." Dec. 20, 2009. (March 30, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/baby/certified-midwives

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