Medicalization and obstetric care: An analysis of developments in Dutch midwifery

Abstract
The Dutch system of obstetric care is often recommended for midwife-attended births, the high number of home deliveries, and the low rate of intervention during pregnancy and labour. In this contribution, the question is addressed whether processes of medicalization can be demonstrated in the Dutch midwife practice. Medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth is often criticized because it creates dependency on the medical system and infringement of the autonomy of pregnant women. It is concluded that medicalization is present in the practice of Dutch independent midwives, however it is less clear and outspoken than in hospital policies
Keywords childbirth  medicalization  midwifery  obstetric care  obstetrics  pregnancy  pre-natal care  The Netherlands
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