Monthly Archives: February 2014

Mother Beware: How Homebirth is treated in Scholarly and News Discourse

Just published a piece I’ve been working on for a long while. Please read and/or share with anyone you know interested in childbirth, women, gender, and sexism. Here’s the abstract

Scholarly and news media discourses have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of homebirth. This has had the effect of strengthening the popular belief that women’s reproductive processes are inherently prone to malfunction and, thus, require technological intervention in order to ensure “safe” births. Yet the foundation, upon which such claims rest, specifically, a widely touted 2010 study indicating the risk homebirth poses to infant mortality, is marred by fallacies that seem due to negative gendered presumptions about female biology. Such errors are perilous and disempowering. In the first place they are perpetuating unwarranted alarm around the supposed dangers
of planned homebirth, and invite further restrictions of women’s already limited birthing rights in the U.S. Secondly, the study and attending news media discourses are having the effect of obscuring full consideration of maternal wellbeing, particularly as it relates to maternal mortality and maternal morbidity. As such these discourses are contributing to an androcentric vision of childbirth wherein women are viewed as birth-objects or resources rather than creative-agent, and are furthermore normalizing “compulsory maternal sacrifice.”

To read the piece go here: “Mother Beware: Perilous Scholarly and News Media Discourse around Homebirth.” The International Journal of Communication and Health.” Fall 2013, Vol 1, no 2.