Certified Nurse Midwife

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In the past, no one paid too much attention to birth. Pregnancy has been just a stage in a woman’s life, and birth was an instinctual process for a woman to go through. However, women did need support through the birthing process. Those support givers and care providers came to be known as midwives. Midwives were responsible for the care of women, supporting and guiding a mother via non-invasive measures as she took charge of her own birth, and providing aftercare to both the mother and her baby. In the 1900’s, the use of midwives declined as hospitals gained control of the birthing process, Certified Nurse-Midwives came to be as a result, and the ongoing battle for midwives to reclaim birth perpetuated by Ina May Gaskin are defining points …show more content…
Joseph DeLee (Founder of the Chicago Lying-In Hospital), believed that women needed physical assistance in the birthing process, and popularized mechanical intervention (Midwife, 2013). DeLee’s recommendations included the use of forceps: a curved, tong-like device, used to penetrate the vagina, cradle the baby’s head, and extract them from the womb. Episiotomies, or the act of cutting an incision in a woman’s perineum also became a common occurrence. Medical interventions were embraced as an effective way to ensure a safer birth, but most caused complications for both the mothers and their babies. Maternal mortality reached a plateau, with a high of 600 to 700 deaths per 100,000 births, between 1900 and 1930. Also, the number of infant deaths from birth injuries actually increased by 40 percent to 50 percent from 1915 to 1929 as a result of excessive intervention that was often improperly performed (Feldhusen, 2001). Despite that, doctors continued by experimenting with analgesia, or preventing the feeling of pain through the injection of anesthetics. The common one used in the birthing process around this time was known as Twilight Sleep, which was a combination of Scopolamine and Morphine. When mixed together and given to patients, the drug altered their consciousness so that they did not remember painful labors. Even if their minds did not remember them, women 's bodies still experienced their labors. Thus observers of the births witnessed women screaming in pain during contractions, thrashing about, and giving all the outward signs of "acute suffering” (Leavitt, 1980, p. 151). Regardless of the effects anesthetics had on the mothers, painless birth was advertised, and thousands of upper-class American women partook in the option of having babies without the trauma of

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