Hospital Birth Routines as Rituals: Society's Messages to American Women

Issue: 
Publication Date: 
05/1987
Page Count: 
21
Starting Page: 
276
Price: $10.00
References: 

1. Feldman, G. & Freiman, A. (1985). Prophylactic cesarean section at term? New England Journal of Medicine 312, 1264-1267.

2. Turner, Victor (1979). Betwixt and between: The liminal period in rites de passage. In Reader in comparative religion, 4th edition, Lessa and Vogt, eds.p. 239.

3. Kitzinger, Sheila (1980). Women as mothers: How they see themselves in different cultures, New York: Vintage Books, p. 115.

4. Merchant, Carolyn The death of nature: Women, ecology, and the scientific revolution. San Francisco: Harper and Row.

5. Rothman, Barbara Katz (1982). In labor: Women and power in the birthplace, New York: W.W. Norton, pp. 24-29. (Reprinted in paperback under the title Giving birth: Alternatives in childbirth, New York: Penguin Books, 1985.)

6. An extended version of this analysis appears in Robbie Davis-Floyd, Birth as an American Rite of Passage, Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of Anthropology/Folklore, U. of Texas at Austin. University Microfilms Publication No. 86-18448 (1-800-521-0600), October 1986.

7. Although younger obstetricians are now dropping preps and enemas from their standing orders, they remain in routine use in many hospitals across the U.S., and where they are not performed, their absence is noted with pride ("we don't do preps and enemas any more"), indicating that these procedures are still perceived as carrying considerable symbolic force. In spite of these and other innovations in hospital birth, such as allowing women to walk during labor, utilize birthing suites, and the like, the number and type of technological interventions in the birth process is steadily increasing.

8. Turner, op. cit.

9. Inch, Sally (1984). Birth-rights, New York: Pantheon Books.

10. For a consideration of the psychological effects of hospital birth rituals on individual women, and for a comparison of the "technological" and the "wholistic" models of birth, see Davis-Floyd, Birth as an American Rite of Passage, op. cit. pp. 210-347.

11. Kitzinger, Sheila (1985). The sexuality of birth. In Women's experience of sex, New York: Penguin Books, pp. 209-218.

12. For this and other such suggestions for redefinition of the birthspace, see Cohen, Nancy and Estner, Louis (1983). Silent knife, South Hadley, MA.: Bergin and Garvey Publishers.

13. For excellent discussions of more techniques and strategies for achieving self-empowering childbirths, see McKay, Susan (1983). Assertive childbirth, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall; Elkins, Valmai Howe (1980). The rights of the pregnant parent, New York: Schocken Books; Balaskas, Janet & Arthur (1983). Active birth, New York: McGraw-Hill.

14. Ferguson, Marilyn The aquarian conspiracy: Personal and social transformation in the 1980s, Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher Inc.

15. For an illustration of the significance to an individual of this "wholistic model of birth," see Star, Rima Beth The healing power of birth, Star Publishing, P.O. Box 161113, Austin, TX 78716.

16. Merchant, op.cit.

Robbie Davis-Floyd, Ph.D.