PUBLICATIONS

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Birth and the Big Bad Wolf: Biocultural Evolution and Human Childbirth, Part 1

Abstract Once upon a time, there were six little pigs who set out to seek their fortunes in the world (okay, we know that in the original story there were only three, but just bear with us here!). Far away from home they journeyed, until the first little pig spied a peaceful meadow with a…
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Collaborative Research as Resistance: Successful Collaboration across Disciplines

Abstract Discussions abound at Oregon State University (OSU) and elsewhere regarding a greater emphasis on teaching and on the several hours per week of service to the field that all faculty are expected to dedicate in the promotion and tenure (P&T) process. Nonetheless, the clichéd (but no less accurate) “publish or perish” mantra remains in…
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Utility of the 5-Minute Apgar Score as a Research Endpoint.

Abstract Although Apgar scores are commonly used as proxy outcomes, little evidence exists in support of the most common cutpoints (<7, <4). We used 2 data sets to explore this issue: one contained planned community births from across the United States (n = 52,877; 2012-2016), and the other contained hospital births from California (n =…
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Late Upper Paleolithic Occupation at Cooper’s Ferry, Idaho, USA Shows Americas Settled Before ~16,000 Years Ago

Abstract Radiocarbon dating of the earliest occupational phases at the Cooper’s Ferry site in western Idaho indicates that people repeatedly occupied the Columbia River basin, starting between 16,560 and 15,280 calibrated years before the present (cal yr B.P.). Artifacts from these early occupations indicate the use of unfluted stemmed projectile point technologies before the appearance…
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From Policy to Practice: Women’s Experiences of Breastfeeding-Friendly Worksites, Part 2

Abstract Introduction Maintaining lactation after returning to work is imperative for overall breastfeeding success, yet mothers who return to full-time employment outside the home are unlikely to meet their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding-friendly worksites are one potential solution. Method Using semi-structured interviews with employees in one rural New England town (N = 18), we aimed to…
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From Policy to Practice: Women’s Experiences of Breastfeeding-Friendly Worksites, Part 1

Abstract Introduction Breastfeeding-friendly worksites are associated with longer breastfeeding durations, yet currently there is a dearth of research exploring women’s experiences of workplace-based wellness programs designed to support continued lactation. Method Using semi-structured interviews with a voluntary sample of participants from one rural New England town (N = 18), we examined women’s experiences of returning…
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Precision maternity care: Using big data to understand trends and to make change happen

Find the full study Subscription only. To request a copy, contact us here Citation Cheyney, M. and L. Peters. (2019). Precision maternity care: Using big data to understand trends and to make change happen. In Squaring the Circle: Researching normal childbirth in a technological world. S.M. Downe and S. Byrom, eds. Pinter and Martin, UK.
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The Giving Voice to Mothers study: inequity and mistreatment during pregnancy and childbirth in the United States

Abstract BACKGROUND Recently WHO researchers described seven dimensions of mistreatment in maternity care that have adverse impacts on quality and safety. Applying the WHO framework for quality care, service users partnered with NGOs, clinicians, and researchers, to design and conduct the Giving Voice to Mothers (GVtM)–US study. METHODS Our multi-stakeholder team distributed an online cross-sectional survey…
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Temporal Themes in Periviable Birth: A Qualitative Analysis of Patient Experiences

Abstract Objective Periviable birth accounts for a very small percentage of preterm deliveries but a large proportion of perinatal and neonatal morbidity. Understanding parental experiences during and after periviable deliveries may help healthcare providers determine how to best support women during these medically complex, emotionally charged clinical encounters. Methods This is a qualitative study with…
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Birth in Eight Cultures (Book)

Synopsis This stunning sequel to Brigitte Jordan’s landmark Birth in Four Cultures brings together the work of fifteen reproductive anthropologists to address core cultural values and knowledge systems as revealed in contemporary birth practices in Brazil, Greece, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Tanzania, and the United States. Six ethnographic chapters form the heart of…
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Community Versus Out‐of‐Hospital Birth: What’s in a Name?

Abstract The term out‐of‐hospital has long been used as a kind of shorthand to refer collectively to births that occur in birth centers or at home. However, this term has also been a persistent cause of concern among health care providers who attend births in these settings, and researchers and midwives are increasingly adopting the term community birth instead…
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Reply to Farr et al. Letter (Benyshek et al.)

Abstract Reply: We welcome the opportunity to respond to the comments by Farr and colleagues in a Letter to Birth. Find the full study The full letter is available here. Citation Benyshek DC, Cheyney M, Bovbjerg ML. Reply to Farr et.al letter. [letter] Birth 2019 Mar; 46(1): 202-4.
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What is Big data?

Find the full study Subscription only. To request a copy, contact us here Citation Peters, L. and M. Cheyney. (2018) What is Big data? Vereniging voor epidemiologie. Pp. 6-7.
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The curse of the perinatal epidemiologist: inferring causation amidst selection.

Abstract Abstract PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Human reproduction is a common process and one that unfolds over a relatively short time, but pregnancy and birth processes are challenging to study. Selection occurs at every step of this process (e.g., infertility, early pregnancy loss, and stillbirth), adding substantial bias to estimated exposure-outcome associations. Here we focus on…
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Early childhood leadership: A photovoice exploration

Abstract The first five years of a child’s life represent critical windows in physiological, social-emotional, and cognitive development. Administrators of early childhood (EC) programs play a pivotal role in determining the quality of experiences that unfold for young children in center-based care. Using photovoice, semi-structured administrator interviews, and participant-observation, we aimed to identify the factors…
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Asking different questions: A call to action for research to improve the quality of care for every woman, every child

Abstract Despite decades of considerable economic investment in improving the health of families and newborns world-wide, aspirations for maternal and newborn health have yet to be attained in many regions. The global turn toward recognizing the importance of positive experiences of pregnancy, intrapartum and postnatal care, and care in the first weeks of life, while…
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Women Who Bedshare More Frequently at 14 Weeks Postpartum Subsequently Report Longer Durations of Breastfeeding.

Abstract INTRODUCTION: Breastfeeding rates in the United States continue to fall short of Healthy People 2020 goals. Bedsharing has been promoted as a way of increasing breastfeeding durations. METHODS: We used prospectively collected Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and PRAMS-2 data from 2276 women to explore whether bedsharing frequency predicts age at weaning.…
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Rural community birth: Maternal and neonatal outcomes for planned community births among rural women in the United States, 2004-2009.

Abstract BACKGROUND: Approximately 22% of women in the United States live in rural areas with limited access to obstetric care. Despite declines in hospital-based obstetric services in many rural communities, midwifery care at home and in free standing birth centers is available in many rural communities. This study examines maternal and neonatal outcomes among planned…
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Outcomes of Care for 1,892 Doula-Supported Adolescent Births in the United States: The DONA International Data Project, 2000 to 2013

Abstract This is the largest study to-date to report on outcomes of care for a national sample of doula-supported adolescent births (n = 1,892, birth years 2000 to 2013). Descriptive statistics were calculated for maternal demographics, risk profiles, labor/birth interventions and occurrences, and birth outcomes. In this national sample, childbearing adolescents and their neonates experienced improved…
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Outcomes of care for 1,892 doula-supported adolescent women in the United States: The DONA International Data Project, 2000-2013.

Abstract This is the largest study to-date to report on outcomes of care for a national sample of doula-supported adolescent births (n = 1,892, birth years 2000 to 2013). Descriptive statistics were calculated for maternal demographics, risk profiles, labor/birth interventions and occurrences, and birth outcomes. In this national sample, childbearing adolescents and their neonates experienced…
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Mapping integration of midwives across the United States: Impact on access, equity, and outcomes

Abstract Poor coordination of care across providers and birth settings has been associated with adverse maternal-newborn outcomes. Research suggests that integration of midwives into regional health systems is a key determinant of optimal maternal-newborn outcomes, yet, to date, the characteristics of an integrated system have not been described, nor linked to health disparities. METHODS Our…
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Too Long to Wait: Obstetric Fistula and the Sociopolitical Dynamics of the Fourth Delay in Soroti, Uganda

Abstract Uganda has one of the highest obstetric fistula rates in the world with approximately 200,000 women currently suffering. Surgical closure successfully treats fistula in the majority of cases, yet there is a severe shortage of facilities and trained surgeons in low-resource countries. The purpose of this study was to examine Ugandan women’s experiences of…
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Perspectives on risk: Assessment of risk profiles and outcomes among women planning community birth in the United States.

Abstract BACKGROUND: There is little agreement on who is a good candidate for community (home or birth center) birth in the United States. METHODS: Data on n=47 394 midwife-attended, planned community births come from the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project. Logistic regression quantified the independent contribution of 10 risk factors to maternal and neonatal…
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Vaginal birth after cesarean: neonatal outcomes and United States birth setting

Abstract BACKGROUND Women seeking VBAC may find limited in-hospital options. Increasing numbers of US women are delivering by VBAC out-of-hospital. Little is known about neonatal outcomes among those delivering by VBAC in vs. out-of-hospital. OBJECTIVE(S) To compare neonatal outcomes between women delivering via VBAC in hospital vs. out-of-hospital (home and freestanding birth center). STUDY DESIGN…
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Cesarean Birth Regret and Dissatisfaction: A Qualitative Approach

Abstract BACKGROUND The most consistently noted difference between unplanned cesarean and vaginal births is patient dissatisfaction or regret. This has been explored in multiple quantitative studies. However, the causes of this dissatisfaction remain elusive as a result of the limitations of survey instruments that restrict possible choices. METHODS Using open‐ended, semi‐structured interviews (n = 14),…
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Understanding Recent Home-Birth Research

Abstract In the past month, two new studies have been released—one in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM; Snowden et al., 2015) and the other in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Hutton et al., 2015)—comparing out-of-hospital birth outcomes to hospital birth outcomes. These studies join a growing body of literature that consistently shows high…
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Making US Out-of Hospital Birth Safer Requires Systems Change

Abstract Birth is as safe as life gets. – Harriette Hartigan, direct-entry midwife What one deems “safe” is inherently subjective, involving a series of judgments and a relative weighing of multiple (and sometimes conflicting) factors. Find full study Subscription only. To request a copy, contact us here Citation Tilden, E., J. Snowden, A. Caughey and M.…
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Maternal and Newborn Outcomes Following Waterbirth: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009 Cohort.

Abstract INTRODUCTION: Data on the safety of waterbirth in the United States are lacking. METHODS: We used data from the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, birth years 2004 to 2009. We compared outcomes of neonates born underwater waterbirth (n = 6534), neonates not born underwater nonwaterbirth (n = 10,290), and neonates whose mothers…
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Planned Home VBAC in the United States, 2004-2009: Outcomes, Maternity Care Practices, and Implications for Shared Decision Making.

Abstract BACKGROUND: In the United States, the number of planned home vaginal births after cesarean (VBACs) has increased. This study describes the maternal and neonatal outcomes for women who planned a VBAC at home with midwives who were contributing data to the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project 2.0 cohort during the years 2004-2009.…
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Home birth is unsafe: AGAINST: Safe for whom?

ABSTRACT First, we question the underlying premise of this debate: that hospital birth is inherently safe. There has been much discussion regarding the ‘cascade of interventions’ that has become ubiquitous, at least in US hospital settings, and which culminates in caesareans—many of which are medically unnecessary—for over 30% of labouring women. Caesareans result in substantial…
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“If it is written by Allah, there is nothing that can stop it”: Saudi Women’s Breast Cancer Narratives

Abstract The purpose of this study was to identify cultural models of breast cancer held by Saudi women and to explore how these may influence early detection and treatment-seeking behaviors. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews with breast cancer survivors (n=20) from two Western cities in Saudi Arabia. Respondents were recruited through social networking, using…
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Of Missing Voices and the Obstetric Imaginary

Abstract In this commentary, I respond to an ethical analysis of a case study, reported by Jankowski and Burcher, in which a woman gives birth to an infant with a known heart anomaly of unknown severity, at home, attended by a midwife. Jankowski and Burcher argue that the midwife who attended this family acted unethically…
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The Creation of a Consensus Statement by the ACNM, MAMA, and the NACPM: A Modified-Delphi Study on Normal Physiologic Birth

Abstract INTRODUCTION This article describes the process of developing consensus on a definition of, and best practices for, normal physiologic birth in the United States. Evidence supports the use of physiologic birth practices, yet a working definition of this term has been elusive. METHODS We began by convening a task force of 21 individuals from…
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Exposure analysis methods impact associations between maternal physical activity and cesarean delivery.

Abstract BACKGROUND: Previous studies report conflicting results regarding a possible association between maternal physical activity (PA) and cesarean delivery. METHODS: Seven-day PA recalls were collected by telephone from pregnant women (n = 1205) from North Carolina, without prior cesarean, during 2 time windows: 17 to 22 weeks and 27 to 30 weeks completed gestation. PA…
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Transfer from Planned Home Birth to Hospital: Improving Inter-professional Collaboration

Abstract Women’s heightened interest in choice of birthplace and increased rates of planned home birth in the United States have been well documented, yet there remains significant public and professional debate about the ethics of planned home birth in jurisdictions where care is not clearly integrated across birth settings. Simultaneously, the quality of interprofessional interactions…
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In Reply

A letter to the Editor of Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health Find the full study Subscription only. To request a copy, contact us here Citation Cheyney, M. (2014). In Reply. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. May Jun;59(3):366-7. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12210.
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Navigating Social and Institutional Obstacles: Women’s Experiences Seeking Abortion Care in Western Oregon

Abstract Nearly half of all women in the United States will have at least one abortion during their lifetime, and many will encounter economic, logistical, and/or social obstacles while attempting to undergo the procedure. The purpose of this project was to examine the abortion-seeking experiences of a volunteer sample of Oregon women, to identify key…
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Homebirth Transfers in the United States: Narratives of Risk, Fear and Mutual Accommodation

Abstract The purpose of this study was to explore the contested space of home-to-hospital transfers that occur during labor or in the immediate postpartum period, as a means of identifying the mechanisms that maintain philosophical and practice divides between homebirth midwives and hospital-based clinicians in the United States. Using data collected from open-ended, semistructured interviews,…
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The Crusade Against Home Birth

Abstract A recent study by Grunebaum et al examined the relationship between place of birth and adverse neonatal outcomes (Apgar of 0 at 5 minutes, and neonatal seizures or serious neurologic dysfunction—hereafter referred to as neonatal seizures) as reported in birth certificate data from 2007 to 2010 for term newborns (n  = 13,891,274) 1. Outcomes were analyzed by…
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Development and validation of a national data registry for midwife-led births: the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project 2.0 dataset.

Abstract INTRODUCTION: In 2004, the Midwives Alliance of North America’s (MANA’s) Division of Research developed a Web-based data collection system to gather information on the practices and outcomes associated with midwife-led births in the United States. This system, called the MANA Statistics Project (MANA Stats), grew out of a widely acknowledged need for more reliable…
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Breastfeeding and Childhood Obesity: Where Do We Go From Here?

Abstract Breast is best. Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that Baby needs no other foods or drinks, even water, for 6 months.1,2 Mother should then continue to nurse him (throughout this article, we refer to the child as “he” to distinguish him from his mother), while offering age-appropriate complementary…
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Supporting Healthy and Normal Physiologic Childbirth: A Consensus Statement by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Midwives Alliance of North America, and the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives

Introduction In 1996, the World Health Organization called for the elimination of unnecessary intervention in childbirth, yet currently there are few resources to assist maternity care providers in achieving this goal. The purpose of this consensus statement is to explicitly identify key benchmarks of safe, healthy, and normal physiologic childbirth. This statement will assist maternity…
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Characteristics Related to Effective Contraceptive Use Among a Sample of Nonurban Latinos

Abstract A better understanding of effective contraceptive use among Latinos is needed to reduce their high rate of unintended pregnancy. Most research has focused on urban Latinas and has overlooked the relationship context of effective contraceptive use. Interviews were conducted among a sample of 450 Latino women and men aged 18-25 in sexual relationships, who…
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Reinscribing the Birthing Body: Homebirth as Ritual Performance

Abstract In this article, I examine the clinical practices engaged in by U.S. homebirth midwives and their clients from the beginning of pregnancy through to the immediate postpartum period, deconstructing them for their symbolic and ritual content. Using data collected from open‐ended, semistructured interviews and intensive participant‐observation, I describe the roles ritual plays in the…
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Rethinking Dr. Spock

Abstract I read with interest the “Voices From the Past” article that reprinted part of Dr. Spock’s book, Decent and Indecent: Our Personal and Political Behavior.1 The accompanying brief biography of Dr. Spock was intriguing as well—we should all aspire to speak so vocally and publicly about issues pertaining to health and social justice in the United…
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Food is more than nutrition. Nutritional counseling and the language of prenatal diet in midwifery and obstetric practice

Find the full study Subscription only. To request a copy, contact us here Citation Moreno-Black, G. and M. Cheyney (2010).  Food is More than Nutrition: Nutritional Counseling and the Language of Prenatal Diet in Midwifery and Obstetric Practice. Appetite 56(2): 538.
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Current Resources for Evidence-Based Practice, May 2019

Abstract The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is considered the gold standard study design in clinical and public health research. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires numerous RCTs before approval of new drugs and devices. Systematic reviews or meta-analyses based on RCTs are considered the highest level of evidence by the U.S. Preventive Services Task…
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Born at home: The biological, cultural and political dimensions of maternity care in the United States (Book)

Synopsis This is a book about women who choose to give birth at home against the wishes and indeed the interests of established medicine. It focuses on conditions in the US. It places the issue within the context of the continuing health care crisis in this country and poses surprisingly traditional alternatives to the mechanized…
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Nutritional Counseling in Midwifery and Obstetric Practice

Abstract It is generally acknowledged that pregnant women require healthy diets. However, the cultural idea of “eating for two” and what constitutes an “appropriate” diet during pregnancy have been contested grounds of research as guidelines have changed over the decades. Using a grounded theory approach, we examine how research on pregnancy nutrition is incorporated into…
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Physician recommendations regarding SIDS risk reduction: a national survey of pediatricians and family physicians.

Abstract BACKGROUND: The current rate of cesarean delivery in the United States is 31 percent. Previous studies have suggested that exercise during pregnancy may be associated with a lower risk of cesarean delivery, but sample sizes were small and methods often inadequate. This study examined whether or not an association exists between prenatal exercise and…
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Exercise during pregnancy and cesarean delivery: North Carolina PRAMS, 2004-2005.

Abstract BACKGROUND: The current rate of cesarean delivery in the United States is 31 percent. Previous studies have suggested that exercise during pregnancy may be associated with a lower risk of cesarean delivery, but sample sizes were small and methods often inadequate. This study examined whether or not an association exists between prenatal exercise and…
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Cultural Competency in Health Care: Evaluating the Outcomes of a Cultural Competency Training among Health Care Professionals

Abstract PURPOSE The purpose of this research was to examine the effectiveness of a cultural competency training program designed to improve the knowledge and skills of health care providers and administrators engaging in cross-cultural, clinical encounters. METHODS We conducted an evaluation study among 43 health care professionals (health care providers and health administrators) who attended…
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Narratives of Risk: Speaking Across the Hospital/ Homebirth Divide

Find the full study Open source. To access the full article, click here Citation Cheyney, M. and C. Everson. (2009). Narratives of Risk: Speaking Across the Hospital/ Homebirth Divide. Anthropology Newsletter 50(3): 7-8.
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Homebirth as Systems-Challenging Praxis: Knowledge, Power and Intimacy in the Birthplace

Abstract In this article, I examine the processes and motivations involved when women in the United States choose to circumvent the dominant obstetric care paradigm by delivering at home with a group of care providers called direct-entry midwives. Using grounded theory, participant observation, and open-ended, semistructured interviewing, I collected and analyzed homebirth narratives from a…
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