Elizabeth Larsen reviews books on the American way of birth in the Utne Reader.
She highlights Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First, a recent book by Marsden Wagner.
A perinatologist and a scientist, Wagner is a former director of women's and children's health at the World Health Organization (WHO). He's also an old-fashioned whistleblower. By his lights, the American birth industry is in a crisis because we have turned a natural event into a medical condition. As a result, we've allowed obstetricians -- and not the midwives who safely deliver the majority of the world's babies -- to control maternity care. The ironic result is that in our efforts to make birth as safe as possible, we have saddled American women and babies with a system that, despite being the most expensive on earth, puts us in the bottom tier of care for wealthy countries.
Evidently, Marsden's is one of a long line of books pointing to ways modern medicine seems to be making birth more dangerous for mothers and babies. See also my post, "Medical Meddling in Birth," as well as the Labor and Birth category.