Social Sciences Department
BS in Anthropology and Geography
Dawn B. Neill
Midwives have become more popular in recent years, and a rising percentage of women have been choosing midwives over doctors. Originally midwives were mostly used by minority women, but now more caucasian women are finding midwives to be a natural and preferable way to give birth. Due to this change in trend, midwives are becoming more accepted in society. This paper examines and defines the reasons behind the changing trends of midwifery in the United States. Specifically, if this changing trend has to deal with interventions, such as pitocin or cesarean sections, by doctors to speed up the delivery process. In 1900, ninety-five percent of births took place at home, in 1930 only half of births took place at home, and by 1955 less than one percent of births took place at home (Lake & Epstein, 2008). Now the trend seems to be changing, in 2009 eight percent of midwives attended births (MacDorman et al., 2012). In 1990, there was a high number of minority women that were attended by certified nurse midwives. In 2009, the numbers changed and evened out suggesting that more white women were using midwives (Declercq, 2012). From reviewing the literature and documentaries on midwifery and hospital births, there is a pattern shown throughout history that portrays social class, status, and ethnicity determining what is popular in birth.