In recent years, consumers have become increasingly involved in their own health care and increasingly assertive vis a vis the medical profession. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the area of childbirth. A number of individuals both within and outside of the medical profession have advocated changes in traditional childbirth practices. This article focuses upon these proposed changes and discusses both the true issues and the pseudo-issues involved. Problems in existing research are described and the type of research that is needed is outlined.