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Home Birth

  • By: May Friedman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Home birth refers to the occurrence of labor and childbirth taking place in private space rather than in hospitals or other medicalized environments. Home births are generally free from medical interventions such as continuous fetal monitoring and artificial rupture of membranes, and are generally undertaken without anesthesia. Although the majority of home births are attended by midwives, some women choose unattended home births and deliver their babies alone. Home birth as a practice has led to the presence of a home-birth movement, undertaken by women who view this method of childbirth as a political decision. The home-birth movement blends a variety of ideological positions including women from feminist, religious, and ecological movements.

Although the maj ority of children globally are born at home, in Westernized environments ...

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