Piercing the veil: The marginalization of midwives in the United States
This paper investigates the marginalization of certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) in the US. This marginalization occurs despite ample evidence demonstrating that a midwifery model delivers high-quality cost-effective care. Currently midwives attend only 7% of births, compared to 50-75% of births in other developed countries. Given the escalating costs of health care and relatively poor maternal and child health indicators in comparison with other developed countries, these findings are disturbing. This paper investigates this paradox through a qualitative case study of two prestigious but declining midwifery services in a large US city. Fifty-two multi-sited in-depth interviews were conducted along with an analysis of relevant archival sources. It was found that institutions successfully altered maternity care and diminished midwifery services without accountability for their actions. These findings illuminate the larger political-economic forces that shape the marginalization of midwifery in the US.
Volume (Year): 65 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
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