From Endeavors: Better Birth

Dr. Anne Drapkin Lyerly, an associate professor of social medicine and an adjunct associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine, and Emily Namey, a senior research associate at FHI 360, worked together to interview 101 women for the Good Birth Project.

What is a “good” birth? UNC’s Anne Lyerly asked 101 women.

In medical school, Lyerly had learned that all that mattered in birth was keeping the mother and baby safe. This approach never sat quite right with her—what about the mother’s experience of birth?

But when she looked to the midwifery movement for another point of view, she found a deep skepticism about technology that she didn’t agree with either. “If a good birth is a natural birth,” she says, “then that leaves out a lot of women who are physiologically unable to have that kind of birth.”

Women today, Lyerly writes in A Good Birth, are caught between the traditions of the medical community on one side and the hard-to-meet standards of natural birth on the other. She’s seen this division as an obstetrician who has attended hundreds of births, but also as a mother who felt let down after having a cesarean section.

“The birth of a child is among life’s most memorable experiences,” she writes. “That those memories are imbued with regret or uncertainty because of the way our culture talks and thinks about birth—the way doctors and midwives and women themselves squabble about it—is something I’m determined to change.”

Click here to read the full article at Endeavors.