Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care

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9780738211664: Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care
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A groundbreaking narrative investigation of childbirth in the age of machines, malpractice, and managed care, Pushed presents the complete picture of maternity care in America. From inside the operating room of a hospital with a 44% Cesarean rate to the living room floor of a woman who gives birth with an illegal midwife, Block exposes a system in which few women have an optimal experience. Pushed surveys the public health impact of routine labor inductions, C-sections, and epidurals, but also examines childbirth as a women's rights issue: Do women even have the right to choose a normal birth? Is that right being upheld? A wake-up call for our times, Block's gripping research reveals that while emergency obstetric care is essential, we are overusing medical technology at the expense of maternal and infant health.

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About the Author:

Jennifer Block is a former editor at Ms. Magazine and an editor of the revised Our Bodies, Ourselves. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Mother Jones, and Elle. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

According to writer and editor Block (Our Bodies, Ourselves), "the United States has the most intense and widespread medical management of birth" in the world, and yet "ranks near the bottom among industrialized countries in maternal and infant mortality." Block shows how, in transforming childbirth into a business, hospitals have turned "procedures and devices developed for the treatment of abnormality" into routine practice, performed for no reason than "speeding up and ordering an unpredictable...process"; for instance, the U.S. cesarean section rate tripled in the 1970s, and has doubled since then. Block looks into a growing contingent of parents-to-be exploring alternatives to the hospital-and the attendant likelihood of medical intervention-by seeking out birthing centers and options for home-birth. Unfortunately, obstacles to these alternatives remain considerable-laws across the U.S. criminalizing or severely restricting the practice of midwifery have led the trained care providers to practice underground in many states-while tort reform has done next to nothing to lower malpractice insurance rates or improve hospital birthing policies. This provocative, highly readable expose raises questions of great consequence for anyone planning to have a baby in U.S., as well as those interested or involved in women's health care.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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