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Table 1 Key features of medical and midwifery models of childbirth

From: An exploration of influences on women’s birthplace decision-making in New Zealand: a mixed methods prospective cohort within the Evaluating Maternity Units study

Medical/technocratic model Midwifery/holistic/social model
Doctor centred Woman centred
Obstetrics: experts in pathology Midwifery: experts in normal physiology
Body-mind dualism; classifying, separating Holistic; integrating approach
Pregnancy is a medical condition, inherently pathological Pregnancy is a normal human state, inherently healthy
Birth is only normal in retrospect and requires hospitalisation and medical supervision Birth is normal physiological, social & cultural process with environment key
Technology dominant Technology cautious
Risk selection is not possible, but risk is central Risk selection is possible & appropriate
Statistical/biological approach Individual/psycho-social approach
Biomedical focus Psycho-social focus
Medical knowledge is privileged & exclusionary Experiential & emotional knowledge valued
Intervention Observation
Outcome: aims at live, healthy mother and baby. Outcome: aims at live, healthy mother and baby and satisfaction of individual needs of mother/couple.
  1. Sources: An interpretation based on Bryers & van Teijlingen [24], van Teijlingen [25], Rooks [28] and Davis-Floyd [26].