sprinkle: an undergraduate journal of feminist and queer studies


Laura Clayton


Many feminists argue that one major negative aspect of reproductive healthcare in the U.S. is the common over-medicalization of women during childbirth, including potentially unnecessary procedures such as cesarean-section and episiotomy. As a solution, they advocate for increased involvement of midwives in childbirth practices, as midwives allow women to give birth at home with minimal medical intervention. This paper analyzes the benefits of midwifery as well as the current increased risk associated with homebirth in the U.S. Additionally, it questions the damaging stigma associated with assumptions of cesarean-section as a suboptimal outcome. A false dichotomy has developed in our culture between natural and unnatural childbirth that silences the voices of women who benefit from obstetric medical interventions. Furthermore, not all women have the economic privilege of choice in how they deliver their baby. Herein, I explore the ways in which midwifery and traditional obstetrics could be combined to provide the greatest amount of safety and choice to women as they bring their children into this world. This is done alongside a reconciliation of my feminist perspective with my aspiration to be an obstetrician/gynecologist.