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Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences


This capstone takes on the task of analyzing how the American cultural perception of pain during birth has impacted and continues to impact access to prenatal care, birth planning and the birth experience. To achieve this end, I first follow the historical evolution of the birth model in America from a woman-centered, natural event to a timed medical procedure occurring under the required supervision of a physician in a hospital- a system essentially forcing prospective parents to make contact with a hospital. Additionally, I will compare the predominating and preferred method of the United States medicalized birth model to the midwifery model. The dual analysis of the medical model and the alternative model offered by midwives will provide an understanding of the wide disparity of how American women experience and perceive their individual childbirth experiences. The evolution of America’s historical and cultural perception of childbirth pain suggests that society has deeply altered the modern understanding of birth, and perhaps not for the better.