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Coming Home – How Midwives Changed Birth - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth

Wendy Kline


By the mid-twentieth century, two things appeared destined for extinction in the United States: the practice of home birth and the profession of midwifery. In 1940, close to half of all U.S. births took place in the hospital, and the trend was increasing. By 1970, the percentage of hospital births reached an all-time high of 99.4%, and the obstetrician, rather than the midwife, assumed nearly complete control over what had become an entirely medicalized procedure. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, an explosion of new alternative organizations, publications, and conferences cropped up, documentin ... More

Keywords: home birth, midwife, obstetrician, gynecology, women’s health, reproduction, history of medicine, nursing, parents, hospital

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780190232511
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190232511.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Wendy Kline, author
Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine, Purdue University