Midwifery is not the practice of Medicine

Speaking of the devil…I just popped over to The Mommy Blawg, and what should be there but an amazing article by Suzanne Hope Suarez that first appeared in the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism: Midwifery is not the Practice of Medicine. This article raises and supports so many of the points I just touched upon in my last post regarding the dangers of the overmedicalization of birth, the prosecution of midwifery and those who fall outside the medical system, and the economic and competitive motives which often underlies this prosecution. Robbie-Davis Floyd is even mentioned, too:

    Obstetrical interventions pass for science, even though their use in normal pregnancy is irrational. According to anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd, obstetrical interventions fulfill a rational societal function by diminishing our high-tech society’s extreme fear of birth. Specific cultural services are performed when obstetricians “bring forth a new social member through a maze of wires and electronic bleeps.” Obstetrical rituals convey core values that center around science and technology. Belief in them as “necessary” sustains patriarchal institutional management. We let monitors, intravenous devices, and drugs give birth instead of women, turning the bodies of women who give birth into “machines.” Faith in technology provides a comfortable refuge from the unknown.

Even though this article was written in 1993, almost everything it discusses is still true, or even more true. The c-section rate is no longer 23%, it’s a whopping 29%. Things keep getting worse, not better. No joke. This article is AMAZING, complete with references! Go read it IMMEDIATELY! I cannot stress this enough. We should print out copies of this and tape it to the walls of hospitals, or hand it out on the street, or just randomly place it in mailboxes. This article needs to become public knowledge, ASAP. The time to rediscover midwifery is NOW.

This entry was posted in Issues, Journal Articles, Midwifery, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. k
    Posted April 17, 2006 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Happy Cesarean Awareness Month….
    Lets fold it up and cram it in home pregnancy tests!!! Along with The Maternity Centers “What every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know about Cesarean Section”!
    A little knowledge goes a long way!

  2. The Student
    Posted April 18, 2006 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Amen, sister!

  3. Sandra Hess
    Posted November 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey there! I actually was looking for Suzanne Hope Suarez’s brilliant essay and came across your blog reference and link to “Midwifery is not the Practice of Medicine”. Love your blog and use of it….. but I’m still having the same problem- I can no longer reach it online __ ??? Can you? Your link to it not working for me. I’d still like to have it available to share! ~ Have been doing so all these years.

  4. The Midwife
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Sandra Hess, I found the correct URL and fixed the links. Thanks for the updates! Hope this helps!

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