Rebecca Dickinson ‘13

Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia / Registered Midwife, South Community Birth Program

Becca’s Question: What are the roles of culture and community in a healthy pregnancy and birth?

Keystone Title: Choosing a Birth setting: is Homebirth a Viable Alternative to Hospital Birth?

Abstract:  Since the turn of the 20th century, Western culture have conceived birth as a medical event that necessitates a hospital. Prior to the early 1900’s, however, most births occured at home. An examination of the medical literature as well as the culture and history of births suggests that a move from home to hospital may have been unnecessary and detrimental both for mothers who are birthing, and for society as a whole. This thesis presents homebirth as a viable alternative to hospital  in a modern era. It reviews literature that shows that homebirth, when attended by a certified midwife, is as safe, or safer, than hospital birth for both mothers and infants. This paper analyzes home and hospital birth settings to consider the history and culture of birth and its impact on women, concluding that a woman’s birth experience is influenced more by the patriarchal nature of western society than by what is best for women.

What Concentration Courses did you take?

Sex, Gender, and Orientation (Interdisciplinary)
Anatomy and Physiology (Life Sciences)
Nutrition (Life Sciences)
African Self Perceptions (Arts & Humanities)
Asymmetry (Interdisciplinary)
Introduction to Psychology (Social Sciences)
Exploring the Ecological Self (Interdisciplinary)
Field Ecology (Life Sciences)

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