Angela Leonardo


Childbirth, Feminism, Natural childbirth, Postpartum depression


Pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood are areas of human development that have systematically migrated away from their roots as a series of natural life events to a highly, and perhaps unnecessarily, medicalized arena. This shift has been detrimental for women, especially for poor, socially isolated, single, and/or ethnic minority women. In this paper, I outline my concerns with the increased medicalization of birth and postpartum care, as well as with the status of mothers in the United States, and critically examine the patriarchal context in which this shift has occurred. My focus is on maternal health and mortality, including depression and other associated mood disorders during the pre, peri, and postpartum periods. The intent of this paper is not to vilify hospitals or allopathic medicine practitioners, but rather to increase awareness and knowledge of the childbirth process and postpartum period, including procedures and outcomes involved in traditional medical and midwifery care both in and out of the hospital setting. I hope to provide an argument for the use of complementary and alternative therapies and integrative medicine, specifically acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, meditation, and support groups to treat mental health conditions and support overall well-being in pregnant and postpartum women.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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