Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Michelle Osborn

Second Advisor

Melinda Goldner




care, model, women, patient, midwives, experience


The World Bank rates the United States last amongst developed countries for maternal mortality, with 14 deaths per 100,000 live births compared to Canada and the Netherlands with 7 deaths per 100,000 live births, and the UK with 9 per 100,000 live births. This paper argues that these deaths are strongly linked to excessive use of Cesarean sections, resulting from increased access to technology, and explores the attendant medicalization of childbirth in the United States. Drawing on interviews with patients, midwives, and physicians, in addition to participant observation of hospitals and private practices within the Tristate area; I compare the medical or physician-led model to the midwifery model. In doing so, I describe distinct aspects of care each model provides to expectant mothers today, and consider the historical evolution of midwifery in the American health care system. I contend that we can improve women’s birthing experiences, regulate the provision of care, improve health outcomes, and reduce high Cesarean section rates through education.