Medical anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd talks with Adriana about the technocratic, humanistic and holistic birth models. She explains why we’ve gotten so obsessed with machines and numbers, why we need more midwives, how some OBs are making positive change by embracing the midwifery model of care, and what you can take from those models to improve your experience.
What model(s) do you notice influenced your birth, and how? Share your insights with our community on Instagram @birthfulpodcast
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What we talked about:
- Holistic OBs creating cultural change in Brazil
- The technocratic model: your body as a machine
- The humanistic model: your body as an organism
- The holistic model: your body and mind are one
- Pink wall paint and other ways in which birth gets co-opted into seeming humanized
- The energetic relationship between your throat and your cervix
- Do you know what you want?
- Do you know what you fear?
- Claiming your power as a birth giver
- Ways to have a more humanized and holistic birth within the generally technocratic hospital environment (including what to read, watch, and do beforehand)
- Why we need more midwives
- The midwifery model of care as a combination of holistic and humanistic
- Training OBs alongside midwives
- Robbie Davis-Floyd is the author and editor of several amazing books and textbooks…
- Birth Models That Work, edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd, Lesley Barclay, Betty-Anne Daviss, and Jan Tritten
- Ways of Knowing about Birth: Mothers, Midwives, Medicine, and Birth Activism, by Robbie Davis-Floyd
- The Power of Ritual, by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Charles Laughlin
- Ritual: What It Is, How It Works, And Why, edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Charles D. Laughlin
- Birth as an American Rite of Passage, by Robbie Davis-Floyd
- Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, by Robbie Davis-Floyd and Carolyn Fishel Sargent
- Birthing Techno-Sapiens: Human-Technology Co-Evolution and the Future of Reproduction, edited by Robbie Davis-Floyd
- Birthing Models on the Human Rights Frontier: Speaking Truth to Power, edited by Betty-Anne Daviss and Robbie Davis-Floyd
- Sustainable Birth in Disruptive Times, edited by Kim Gutschow, Robbie Davis-Floyd, and Betty-Anne Daviss
- …and she has tons of thought-provoking articles on her website, too! Here are some of our favs:
- The Technocratic, Humanistic, and Holistic Paradigms of Childbirth, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
- Childbirth Connection website
- The Business of Being Born film
- Orgasmic Birth film
- Caesarean section rates continue to rise, amid growing inequalities in access, World Health Organization
- The Latest in Cesarean Sections (Cesarean Rate by Year, U.S., Through 2019), Birth by the Numbers
- Rede Pela Humanização do Parto e do Nascimento (Facebook) , the Brazilian advocacy organization mentioned by Robbie
- Cesarean sections in Brazil: will they ever stop increasing?, Pan American Journal of Public Health
- Strategic measures to reduce the caesarean section rate in Brazil, The Lancet
- C-sections are all the rage in Brazil. So too, now, are fancy parties to watch them., The Washington Post
- Nonpharmacological labor pain management methods and risk of cesarean birth: A retrospective cohort study, Birth journal
- This study was performed in Brazil, in a public hospital with one of the highest rates of cesarean births in the country (at an average of 60%), and found that the use of non-pharmacological labor pain management methods reduced the number of cesarean surgeries performed by 78%!
Related Birthful episodes:
- Place of Birth as Your #1 Cesarean Risk
- The Holistic Stages of Birth (Part 1)
- The Holistic Stages of Birth (Part 2)
Lozada, Adriana, host. “Birthful: What You Need to Know About Birth Models (Birth What?)” Birthful, Birthful., April 6, 2022. Birthful.com.
About Robbie Davis-Floyd
Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Rice University, and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, is a well-known medical anthropologist, international speaker and researcher in transformational models in childbirth, midwifery, obstetrics, and reproduction. She is author of over 80 journal articles and 24 encyclopedia articles, and of Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992, 2003, 2022) and Ways of Knowing about Birth: Mothers, Midwives, Medicine, and Birth Activism (2018); coauthor of From Doctor to Healer: The Transformative Journey (1998), The Power of Ritual (2016), and Ritual: What It Is, How It Works, and Why (2022); and lead or co-editor of 18 collections, including the award-winning Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots (1998) and Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross-Cultural Perspectives; the “seminal” Birth Models That Work (2009); Birth in Eight Cultures (2019); Birthing Models on the Human Rights Frontier: Speaking Truth to Power (2021); Sustainable Birth in Disruptive Times (2021); the solo-edited Birthing Techno-Sapiens: Human-Technology Co-Evolution and the Future of Reproduction (2021); and a co-edited Special Issue of Frontiers in Sociology on The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Maternity Care Practices (2021). In press is a 3-volume anthology on The Anthropology of Obstetrics and Obstetricians: The Practice, Maintenance, and Reproduction of a Biomedical Profession, co-edited with perinatologist Ashish Premkumar. Robbie has long served on the Board of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO), in which capacity she helped to wordsmith the International Childbirth Initiative (ICI): 12 Steps to Safe and Respectful MotherBaby-Family Maternity Care, available at www.ICIchildbirth,org. She is also Lead Editor for the Routledge Book Series Social Science Perspectives on Childbirth and Reproduction.
Many of her published articles are freely available on her website www.davis-floyd.com.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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