Some of the most naturally occurring things can be manipulated into medical norms by the means of culture (Gabriel). For example, something insanely natural, birth, has turned into a medical fiasco in America. Birth, along with eating and dying, has been given medical traits over recent years (Gabriel). This is the norm in America, but what about in other cultures? During this week, we took a look at the Inuits and the Hmongs. Their traditional ways of birthing provide a different take on events because birth, to these two groups of people, is just part of regular life (Gabriel).
There are many bad and good traits in a “medicalized” versus ”regular life” childbirth. Depending on who you are, you can feel very different towards a certain way of giving birth. For example, the Inuit cherish their traditional way of childbirth (Gabriel). The Inutis originated in northern Canada and had a very distinct playbook for childbirth. When the government became more involved in their day-to-day life, the Inuits traditional form of childbirth became complicated (Gabriel). Since there was not much proper medical care available in Northern Canada, mothers had to be flown to southern Canada to receive proper care (Gabriel). This was not very comfortable for the mother for many of reasons, but especially if the mother had other children at home (Gabriel). Because of these reason the Inuits prefer to include the childbirth process as a part of everyday life.
Another group of people that feel strongly towards one type of childbirth is the Hmongs. The Hmongs follow a very planned out birthing process. This process includes giving birth within the home and keeping silent during birth (Fadiman). One of the most important things to do after childbirth is to burry the placenta (Fadiman). If the placenta isn’t barred properly, the Hmongs believe that it would affect their child’s afterlife (Fadiman). When some Hmongs left their homeland of Laos and gave birth to their children in hospitals, the placenta could not be retrieved easily (Fadiman). This led Hmongs to believe in a more traditional birthing style.
Most main steam Americans believe that “medicalized” childbirth is safer than more traditional ways (Stellpflug). All though this can be proven true, there are some downsides to the medicalization of childbirth. The Inuit and Hmong people do not use drugs like epidural. Epidurals can interfere with normal feedback between muscles in the pelvis and the mother signals from the brain during childbirth (Stellpflug). All drugs have side effects, so things like the eye drops given to babies after they are born can affect their eyesight (Stellpflug). This has helped many new born babies, but it has also gone wrong.
Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997.
Gabriel, Cynthia, Ph. D. “Inuit Birth” Lecture, Online, July 28, 2016.
Gabriel, Cynthia, Ph. D. “”Medicalization” of Everyday Life.” Lecture, Online, July 28, 2016.
Stellpflug, Craig. “The Medicalization of Childbirth.” NaturalNews. June 22, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2016. http://www.naturalnews.com/036252_childbirth_medicalization_delivery_rooms.html.