Presentation Title

The Curiousity of the Rise in Feminism and the Entrance of the Male to the Birthing Room

Presenter Information

Victoria KaralunFollow

Faculty Mentor

T.L. Brink

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:45 AM

Location

Markstein 211

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

The last century has introduced the feminist movement. This has not reached the childbirth arena as women are now entering the hospital to birth, inviting male doctors or husbands to attend what has historically been an event performed at home with female attendants. The methodology of this study was qualitative in research of the history of childbirth alongside ethnographic immersive observation of the birthing room at over one hundred childbirths. Observed childbirths were in hospitals and homes. The observed data were dissected alongside historical childbirth information and women's rights movements to explore the connection of the rise of the male childbirth attendant to the rise of feminism. The theorized conclusion is that the modern feminist views the male attendant as a 'purchase of service'. Natural childbirth is no longer highly desired and women largely desire a pain-free and quick childbirth conducive to the purchase of services such as the cesarean and the epidural. Purchasing such services are viewed as empowering and fulfill the feminist's birth desires. The argument could be made that many modern gynecologists are females, taking away from the claim that a significant number of birth attendants in modern times are male; this would make it difficult to state that a significant shift has taken place in birth attendant gender. The American Medical Association supports the assertion that many are female – in fact, eighty-five percent of current residents. However, with only 1.61% of the 3,853,472 United States births of 2017 occurring outside of the hospital (MacDorman & Declercq, 2018), accounting for 62,041 births, this leaves 3,791,431 births still occurring in the hospital, and with fifteen percent of these utilizing a male doctor, that is 568,715 births being delivered by a male per year. The modern woman no longer sees the childbirth as the domain of the woman.

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Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM Nov 23rd, 9:45 AM

The Curiousity of the Rise in Feminism and the Entrance of the Male to the Birthing Room

Markstein 211

The last century has introduced the feminist movement. This has not reached the childbirth arena as women are now entering the hospital to birth, inviting male doctors or husbands to attend what has historically been an event performed at home with female attendants. The methodology of this study was qualitative in research of the history of childbirth alongside ethnographic immersive observation of the birthing room at over one hundred childbirths. Observed childbirths were in hospitals and homes. The observed data were dissected alongside historical childbirth information and women's rights movements to explore the connection of the rise of the male childbirth attendant to the rise of feminism. The theorized conclusion is that the modern feminist views the male attendant as a 'purchase of service'. Natural childbirth is no longer highly desired and women largely desire a pain-free and quick childbirth conducive to the purchase of services such as the cesarean and the epidural. Purchasing such services are viewed as empowering and fulfill the feminist's birth desires. The argument could be made that many modern gynecologists are females, taking away from the claim that a significant number of birth attendants in modern times are male; this would make it difficult to state that a significant shift has taken place in birth attendant gender. The American Medical Association supports the assertion that many are female – in fact, eighty-five percent of current residents. However, with only 1.61% of the 3,853,472 United States births of 2017 occurring outside of the hospital (MacDorman & Declercq, 2018), accounting for 62,041 births, this leaves 3,791,431 births still occurring in the hospital, and with fifteen percent of these utilizing a male doctor, that is 568,715 births being delivered by a male per year. The modern woman no longer sees the childbirth as the domain of the woman.