When the industrial revolution and advances in the Western medical model collided within patriarchal society, the process—and power—of birth was taken away from women. Childbirth was moved from the home to the hospital. Science scoffed at the midwife and deified the OB-GYN. By mid-twentieth century, nearly every birth in America was in hospital, under the influence of heavy drugs and ensconced in unhealthy, disempowering rituals, i.e. interventions such as shaving of pubic hair, extreme episiotomy and forceps.
In the 70s, women revolted. They demanded natural births, the presence of partners during delivery and the absence of drugs and unnecessary interventions. But by the 90s, that movement was for the most part co-opted by pretty birthing suites, a sprinkling of female OB GYNs and certified nurse midwives and the epidural, probably the most overused and profitable drug prescribed in hospitals today.
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