The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) released a new publication, Beyond Medicalization: Midwives and Maternity Care in America.
Under the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is rapidly moving into a new era of health care delivery. Across the country, maternal health care policies are changing daily in order to ensure birthing families have access to safe care. Hospitals are making rapid decisions about whether birthing in the hospital is the right decision for healthy families during a pandemic. They are building auxiliary units and calling on birth centers and midwives to help them create alternative safe spaces.
The authors considered what, under ideal conditions and normal circumstances, represents the safest, most satisfying, and natural environment for women to give birth. They try to answer the ultimate question: if women were to design the perfect childbirth experience, for themselves and their partners and infant, from preconception to successful family bonding, would it look like what we have today? If not, then let’s begin the conversation.
The World Health Organization has declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. In honor of the timeless profession of midwifery, JHF sought to examine America’s approach to pregnancy and delivery over the past century. The report explores the decline of midwifery and the shift to possibly “over-medicalized” childbirth, where important techniques for complex deliveries became the norm for everyone. It considered how activists pushed back and achieved numerous successes in making the childbirth experience more satisfying and even safer for women and families. As of today, many champion a new, redesigned and comprehensive model of care. This model of care values the role of the obstetrician and the technological advances made to rescue precarious births, while respecting the appropriate role of midwifery and adding critical prenatal and postnatal services for families.
To view the report, click here.
Jewish Healthcare Foundation (Pittsburgh, PA)
Contact: Scotland C. Huber, MS