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MIDWIFE OR DOCTOR: A STUDY OF PREGNANT WOMEN MAKING DELIVERY DECISIONS

Authors

  • Kathleen M. Galotti PhD,

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    • Kathleen M. Galotti is a professor of Psychology at Carleton College. Her research specialties are cognitive and developmental psychology, with a focus on decision making. She received a BA from Wellesley College in Psychology and Economics, an MA in Psychology, an MSE in Computer and Information Sciences, and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Beverly Pierce MHD, RN,

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    • Beverly Pierce is the Patient Resource Room Coordinator in the Virginia Piper Cancer Center Institute. She received a BA from Smith College in English Literature, an MLS from Simmons College, an MHD from St. Mary's University of Minnesota, and an AS from Normandale Community College. She has interests in women's health and complementary therapies.

  • Rebecca L. Reimer BA,

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    • Rebecca L. Reimer is a Research Associate in the Cognitive Psychology Laboratory at Harvard University. She received a BA in Psychology from Carleton College.

  • Amy E. Luckner BA

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    • Amy E. Luckner is a graduate student in Developmental Psychology at the Institute for Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She received a BA in Psychology from Carleton College.


Kathleen M. Galotti, PhD, Department of Psychology, Carleton College, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057.

ABSTRACT

Eighty-eight women from diverse educational backgrounds were interviewed as they made several important and related life decisions during their pregnancies. In this article, the focus is on the choice of birth attendant. There were few differences between those women who did and did not consider a midwife. Women who selected a midwife reported feeling more knowledgeable about birth attendants, more in control over the birth attendant decision, more satisfied about their delivery decisions, more in control of and satisfied with pain medication decisions, more autonomous in their pregnancy decision making, and more in agreement with “alternative birth” philosophies and less in agreement with “conventional birth” philosophies. The participants also reported receiving more approval from spouse/significant other and friends, were more likely to use “gut instinct” and previous experience or habit to make pregnancy decisions, and were more ready to make these decisions than were women who had not selected a midwife as their primary birth attendant.

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