Much social science and midwifery literature heavily critiques the obstetrical treatment of birth. Taking a more positive and constructive approach, this presentation describes what co-editors Robbie Davis-Floyd of the US, Lesley Barclay of Australia, Betty-Anne Daviss of Canada, and Jan Tritten of the US call “birth models that work”—a phrase we use as the title of our 2009 collection, and that we intend to include models of both education and practice. This talk first presents the criteria we have developed to identify and characterize “birth models that work” and then proceeds to identify and describe a number of such optimal birth models from countries as diverse as Canada, the U.S., the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, and Samoa. I will present the models as originally described in the book and include updates on their current status to show how well—or not—these models have stood the test of time.
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- Describe the reasons why traditional medical models of maternity care do not work.
- Identify and describe 20 criteria for “birth models that work.”
- Name and describe specific examples of models that work according to these criteria.
- Analyze the key features of these models that enable them to function optimally.
- Consider their implications for improving maternity care around the world.
- Learn from other audience members about other models that work and the barriers to creating them.
Robbie Davis-Floyd PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin and Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, is a world-renowned medical anthropologist, international speaker and researcher in transformational models in childbirth, midwifery and obstetrics. She is author of over 80 journal articles and 23 encyclopedia articles, and of Birth as an American Rite of Passage (1992, 2004) and Ways of Knowing about Birth: Mothers, Midwives, Medicine, and Birth Activism—an anthology of her most popular articles, all revised and updated (2018); coauthor of From Doctor to Healer: The Transformative Journey (1998) and The Power of Ritual (2016); and lead editor of 12 collections, the latest of which is Birth in Eight Cultures: A Cross-Cultural Investigation (forthcoming 2018). Birth Models That Work (2009) highlights optimal models of birth care around the world and will soon be followed by Birth Models That Work Volume II, Speaking Truth to Power: Childbirth Models on the Human Rights Frontier, coedited with Betty-Anne Daviss. Robbie serves as Editor for the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (www.imbci.org) and the International Optimal Childbirth Initiative (IOCI): 12 Steps to MotherBaby-Family Friendly Maternity Care Services (a joint IMBCO/FIGO global initiative) and Senior Advisor to the Council on Anthropology and Reproduction. Most of her published articles are freely available on her website www.davis-floyd.com.