Childbirth & Medicalization

Childbirth across various cultures is both contrasting and intriguing. I believe there is no right or wrong way to give birth in society. When we think of childbirth we typically assume one is going to the hospital because that is the “norm” for us here in America. This is not the case with other cultures in fact it is quite the opposite.

Giving birth here the United States is generally very precise and medical. The doctors are constantly monitoring the patient and it seems to be more controlled. The patient’s food and drink intake can also be limited in case of a potential C-section or treatment that would require anesthesia. The delivery of the baby is also considered to be more “clean” considering the care and guidance one is under. Comfort and pain during childbirth are important aspects; “Women comforted by a safe and private environment, reassurance, information and guidance, strengthening of coping resources through emotional support, and human presence, able to transcend their pain experience with a sense of strength and psychological and spiritual comfort. It is important to “coach the coach” in the instance where the father of the baby chooses to be the support person. Nurses should provide support within the family context and according to women’s cultural values and belief system. (Clark 2003) Adhering to certain cultural beliefs and making sure everyone is comfortable is essential.

The Hmong and Inuit both have similar ways of giving birth. We learned in lecture this week about the Hmong and how they prefer to give birth in the comfort of their own homes. Both the Hmong and Inuit women prefer to be in charge of their pregnancy and take the appropriate steps themselves. (Lecture 4.2) Today’s Western medicine is somewhat demanding both the Hmong and Inuit to deliver in hospitals because of both the support and safety. Despite the fact a majority of the Inuit women give birth in their own culture, some of them are transported to hospitals to give birth there. The Hmong on the other hand, have a taboo against medical procedures. They have contrasting viewpoints in regard to doctors and patients. For example, Foua thought that her illness could have been improved from small amounts of medication rather than just doing rituals. This had the potential to be favorable had they prescribed her with something. I do believe medicalization has its benefits but it is not necessarily needed in childbirth unless there are extreme measures. How do you suppose people gave birth hundreds of years ago without the medicalization of hospitals nowadays? They got through it as best as they could doing it their way. I respect every cultures tradition and find it important to acknowledge the differences between the two.

Callister, Lynn Clark, Inaam Khalaf, Sonia Semenic, Robin Kartchner, and Katri Vehvilainen-Julkunen. “The Pain of Childbirth: Perceptions of Culturally Diverse Women.” Pain Management Nursing 4.4 (2003): 145-54. Web. 29 July 2016.

Leave a Reply