Use of fetal electronic monitoring is examined as an example of the incursion of technology into the childbearing experience. Such technology is rapidly introduced and widely applied even though randomized clinical trials have failed to justify its generalized use. Some families have reacted by turning away from traditional in-hospital maternity care. To meet their needs, an out-of-hospital childbearing center has been opened with an emphasis on the psychologic aspects of childbearing and a minimum of technologic intervention. Experience has shown that high-quality, safe maternity care can be provided in this setting.