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A Fine Line: Ethical Issues Facing Childbirth Educators Negotiating Evidence, Beliefs, and Experience

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The trend toward evidence-based information in childbirth education has been ongoing for some time. Lamaze educators are encouraged to present evidence for the Six Care Practices That Support Normal Birth to pregnant women in their childbirth classes. In a previous article published in The Journal of Perinatal Education, my colleague and I provided an overview of the dilemmas facing American childbirth educators. Childbirth education is a domain in which many types of authoritative knowledge are used: evidence, beliefs, and experience. In our study, educators told us their goal is to provide class participants with unbiased information that allows women to choose what is best for them. In this article, I further analyze educators’ dilemmas and challenges in presenting unbiased information, and I discuss some ethical considerations in educators’ practices.

Keywords: authoritative knowledge; childbirth education; ethical considerations; ethnographic research; evidence-based research

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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