Among the many factors that affect a woman’s plans for childbirth, her attitudes and beliefs about birthing play an important role. This exploratory study examines attitudes and beliefs about childbirth among nulliparous pregnant women who are committed to natural, unmedicated childbirth. This study also examines the factors that motivate women to desire natural childbirth in a culture where obstetric interventions are normative. A dominant theme of ambivalence is presented within a conceptual analytical framework that demonstrates a number of factors held in tension in women wanting natural childbirth. These opposing factors coexist within women, both pulling her to trust and desire natural childbirth and creating fear and uncertainty about natural childbirth. These tensions are examined through a discussion of two main influencers that shape women’s perceptions and plans for birth: the dominant medical paradigm of childbirth, and a reflection on the power of personal stories.
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Thesis advisor: Morrow, Marina
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