Charlotte Borst 's Catching Babies Essay

1704 Words Dec 13th, 2016 7 Pages
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Charlotte Borst’s Catching Babies is about the transition from midwife-attended to physician-attended births. Her findings suggest how gender, culture, ethnicity, and professionalism shape birth practices in the United States. In the book, she has case studies, quantitative analysis, and interpretations of professionalism and specialization for historians who seek to combine qualitative and quantitative methods. In the first few chapters, Borst mentions the conditions that shape a midwife’s practice. Most midwives were married mothers who do not seek for a professional career but instead supplement the family income which means that they deliver an average of at least six babies a year. Urban midwives attend an average of twenty-four or more births annually, but they confined their work to a narrow geographic area. Borst argues that most midwives receive specialized training in midwifery schools. Physician-attended births were rising; practitioners were with patients who share similar ethnic and geographic ties. Examples would be a Norwegian-born doctor supervising maternity cases among Norwegian immigrants, while a doctor who is a child of Polish immigrants had an active maternity practice in the Polish community. In this book, it explains how and why childbirth attendants change from midwives to physicians. Borst established that the fall of midwives and the rise of physician-assisted births were shaped by the characteristics of…

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