The biological process of childbirth is universal, but how a person enters the world reflects social, political, and medical patterns. This study explores the recent implementation of birthing centers designed for Amish patients that provide expectant mothers with advanced healthcare in a context that aligns with their religious lifestyle. The dominant discourse surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, ranging from popular advice literature to the laws regulating and criminalizing improper behavior, categorize pregnancy as a medical event that places doctors as the ultimate authority. Based on participant observation in one birthing center and six interviews with the midwives and nurses who work there, I explore how Amish patients and medical professionals navigate the intersection between modern healthcare and religious and cultural beliefs. I found that the pregnancies of Amish women are becoming increasingly medicalized, but place their church and families, rather than doctors, as the authority.
Sociology and Anthropology
Penner, Leah M., "Meeting at the Center: The Role of Amish Birthing Centers in Mixing Modern Medicine and Religion" (2016). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 7289.
Social and Cultural Anthropology
Amish, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Birthing Center, Medicalization
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2016 Leah M. Penner