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Childbirth in a Technocratic Age: The Documentation of Women’s Expectations and Exper ...

Chapter 1:  Maternal Expectations in 21st-Century U.S. Birth Culture
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Childbirth in a Technocratic Age:

Chapter 1

Maternal Expectations in 21st-Century U.S. Birth Culture

I’m not worried at all … I’m going in there carefree, knowing things are optimal.

Maggie, second-time mother, on her upcoming hospital birth with an expected epidural

Like so many of the nearly four million women who give birth in the United States each year, my interviewee Maggie (a pseudonym) anticipated a worry-free vaginal delivery made safer by traditional hospital care and made easier with an advanced pain treatment available only in that setting. For a handful of women, the various forces influencing their ultimate childbirth experiences—personal and institutional resources, professional practices and routines, and somewhere in the mix, their own desires—come together in an almost magical way to produce an