Medicalization is “the process by which human conditions and problems come to be defined and treated as medical conditions, and thus become the subject of medical study, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment.” (Wikipedia) Today, pregnancy is really a natural process that has been taken into the hands of the medical world and made into a condition.
^The above link references what the documentary The Business of Being Born was aiming to get across as far as the overuse of Cesarian section in childbirth. 1 out of 3 children are delivered this way when it’s actually only about 5% of births that truly need this sort of intervention. I thought this particular article laid out the information presented in the film in a nice, quick fashion so that’s why it has been included in this blog post.
It is absolutely appalling. I actually had no idea about any of what goes on in a delivery room prior to seeing this film in class! There is no way I want to have a baby in the hospital now. I was shocked at how much easier (for lack of a better term) the labor was for both child and mother – mothers weren’t screaming and babies weren’t shocked by antiseptic environments in home birthing scenarios. I had absolutely no idea how much the doctors at hospitals didn’t care about the woman in labor. We’ll give her medication that slows down her labor process, tell her the labor is taking too long, then tell her to have a C-section. Uhm excuse me, what?! Sorry my baby was taking up too much of your precious time making its way out of my body? Its abhorred!
Honestly, its true that pregnancy is shown to be a terrifying experience in mainstream media and I do agree that this is what pushes us toward the hospitals in the first place. If more mainstream media showed positive home birthing experiences, I’m sure mortality rates would fall, midwives would increase in popularity, and birth could be less scary and in the hands of those it really belongs within- the mothers, not the doctors.
It’s crazy to think that society can literally take a natural process, medicalize it, profit from it, and continue to get away with it despite it not being in the best interest of the party involved. How has it escaped me that the US has a ridiculously high mother and infant mortality rate? The same way it has escaped a majority of us. It’s kept under wraps and we’re only told to go to the hospital when we’re pregnant, we’re never told about other options.
I vote we de-medicalize the birthing process, taking it from the hands of those who want it to be as expensive and quick as possible and placing it in the hands of those who actually care about the woman and child involved.