Childbirth, an essential stage of human life, has been carried out and treated differently in numerous ways throughout time. Although the overall method of birth is biologically the same, women and medical professionals in the United States in particular have changed how they view and manage childbirth over the past 70 years. Some of said changes are extensive and occurred more rapidly than one might typically expect for such a delicate and important stage of a woman‘s, and infant‘s, life. As consumerism, capitalism, and the courts have changed America‘s lifestyles, politics, and society, so too have they drastically affected the way we are conditioned to approach childbirth. More importantly, as society changes over time, the medical field and
methods of specialists also change, and although the benefits of these changes are challenged by some individuals, these procedures and recommendations from professionals inevitably affect us all. Methods and procedures of modern, medicalized childbirth, and even the significance placed on the event, are products of historical and cultural factors influenced by scientific and social trends. However, there exists a small and steadily growing number of women and families who choose to have their birth take place outside of the present societal norm, and consequently outside of hospitals. This group‘s existence and growth has been attributed to several factors, including changes in societal values, differentiation between different financial classes, and the
medicalization of childbirth. Although statistically a small percentage of the majority, these women who choose to give birth outside of a hospital exist amidst an immense ongoing controversy between gynecologists, physicians, mothers, and midwives regarding what options should be available when childbirth is undertaken in the United States.