Home birth midwifery in the United States: evolutionary origins and modern challenges
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Citation (published version)Bria Dunham. 2016. "Home Birth Midwifery in the United States : Evolutionary Origins and Modern Challenges.." Hum Nat, v. 27, issue 4, pp. 471-488.
Human childbirth is distinct in requiring-or at least strongly profiting from-the assistance of a knowledgeable attendant to support the mother during birth. With economic modernization, the role of that attendant is transformed, and increased access to obstetric interventions may bring biomedicine into conflict with anatomical, physiological, and behavioral adaptations for childbirth. This article provides an overview of the role of midwifery in human evolution and ways in which this evolutionary heritage is reflected in home birth in the contemporary United States. Opportunities remain for evolutionary scholars to apply their knowledge and skills to strengthen culturally consonant, evolutionarily grounded maternity care within a complex, multilevel, pluralistic medical system.