A Comparative Study of Women Choosing Two Different Childbirth Alternatives


  • Richard L. Cohen M.D.

    1. Richard L. Cohen is Professor of Child Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261.
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ABSTRACT: This is a report of the differences and similarities between two groups of 30 women each who selected widely divergent types of childbirth care. One group chose to deliver their babies in a tertiary university hospital obstetric service, the other in an out-of-hospital alternative birth center staffed by nurse-midwives.

Women choosing the birth center were not demographically different from those choosing the tertiary hospital except that they were somewhat older. However, women choosing the birth center planned to emphasize autonomy and independence rather than intimacy in their child rearing, and they described their partners as much more supportive and involved in the birth, and were much more adaptive in preparation for the birth and the baby's care.