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Institutional and Cultural Perspectives on Home Birth in Israel

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This study exposes doctors’ and midwives’ perceptions and misperceptions regarding home birth by examining their views on childbirth in general and on risk associated with home births in particular. It relies on an approach of risk communication and an anthropological framework. In a qualitative-constructive study, 19 in-depth interviews were conducted with hospital doctors, hospital midwives, home-birth midwives, and a home-birth obstetrician. Our findings reveal that hospital midwives and doctors suffer from lack of exposure to home births, leading to disagreement regarding norms and risk; it also revealed sexist or patriarchal worldviews. Recommendations include improving communication between home-birth midwives and hospital counterparts; increased exposure of hospital doctors to home birth, creating new protocols in collaboration with home-birth midwives; and establishing a national database of home births.
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Keywords: childbirth risk perceptions; holistic childbirth; home birth; paternalism in the birth room; technocratic childbirth

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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