midwifery final - Although midwifery is the most common...

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Although midwifery is the most common form of childbirth assistance throughout the world, the wealthiest countries are moving toward a highly medical form of childbirth. Maternal mortality is the greatest indicator of the differentiation between developing and industrialized countries. Technical, often invasive procedures developed for use during high-risk pregnancies are being applied to and increasing proportion of births, increasing costs and resulting in high cesarean section rates. (Carter, 204) Midwifery is a tradition that has been practiced for centuries around the world. In traditional cultures one or more female relatives or friends attended while a midwife took charge. The midwife was a woman who had given birth and had special knowledge of ritual and physical techniques. (King, 13) Midwives were also a part of Meso-American area cultures like the Aztec and the Maya. “When a pregnant woman went into labor, a professional midwife came to the house to attend her” (King, 116). In Andean areas midwives were considered women with a religious calling to help others ‘bear the fruits of fertility” by the Inca (King, 124). Although Native Americans had midwives attending births within their various tribes, midwifery in colonial America was an extension of European practices. Brigit Lee Fuller attended three births on the Mayflower. Midwives filled a clear, important role in the colonies and midwifery was viewed as a respectable profession. Well skilled practitioners were actively sought by women. Most midwives in colonial America were trained through apprenticeship and had no formal education. The nineteenth century brought great advancement in science and education and an explosion to occur in medical schools. Knowledge of infectious disease and antisepsis were gained but since midwifery practice generally remained on an informal level,
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knowledge of this sophistication was not brought into the midwifery profession. Medical advances in pharmacology, hygiene and other practices were used routinely in obstetrics, but did not integrate into midwifery practices. The homeopathic remedies and traditions practiced by generations of midwives began to appear in contrast to more modern remedies suggested by physicians (Bucker, par 2). Obstetricians began to identify a difference not only in the practices of the two
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course SO 330 taught by Professor Dooley during the Fall '08 term at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

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midwifery final - Although midwifery is the most common...

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