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Women 'can feel more empowered during home births'
New maternal and newborn health research has investigated the differences between home and hospital birth practices.
Women who preferred going into labour in their own house with a midwife described feeling they were "doing something, rather than just lying there passively waiting".
The study was conducted by Oregon State University assistant professor of medical anthropology Melissa Cheyney in the US and published in the journal Medical Anthropology Quarterly.
According to the researcher, who is also a midwife, there was a difference between the rituals surrounding home births and those occurring in obstetric units.
This included there being less of a focus on monitoring equipment and technology when mothers went into labour in the comfort of their houses.
Such gear tends to be put to one side or disguised with blankets so it can be used by the medical professional without the mum being too aware of it.
It was also noted relatives were often brought in to help out with the birth, including children being allowed to hold some equipment.
"The participatory nature was a key component to creating a ritual that empowers the woman and her family to feel in control," Ms Cheyney stated.
It was recently revealed by historian Wendy Kline of the University of Cincinnati in the US that the mothers who chose home birthing in the 70s did not often fit the stereotype of a hippy, but were in diverse professions including business and agriculture.
Posted by Paul Robertson
World Congress 2015