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Fear of Home Birth in Doctors and Obstetric Iatrogenesis

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Home births are physiological births and form part of the social model of birth. Doctors, traditionally, have been very fearful of out-of-hospital birth, and physiological births happen less frequently in obstetric units. Normal/physiological birth contributes to improving public health, and doctors are often not aware of the extent of this benefit. Normal birth leads to adaptive physiological function in the baby (endocrine, immune system, thyroid function, respiration, neurology, temperature regulation), more mother and baby bonding, and promotes higher breastfeeding rates, which in turn lead to better lifelong emotional and physical health in babies. Normal birth affirms health, promotes empowerment in mothers, and is a societal event that has been linked to promoting positive emotional qualities in society via the birthing hormone, oxytocin. Training within the medical model constrains doctors' appreciation of normal birth. Experience of complications, a lack of awareness of the evidence surrounding home birth, compounded by failure to understand the concept of iatrogenesis, perpetuates fear of home birth among doctors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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