Maternity care, even in rich countries, is so badly out of date. It seems like a horrific number of doctors — medical professionals who take an oath to care for us with dignity and respect — use pregnancy and childbirth to reinforce dangerous assumptions about women and their bodies.

I recently read (part of) How To Give Birth Like A Feminist, which is mostly based on studies in the UK, but I’ve found the same attitude in some hospitals in Germany, where I will give birth in (gasp) less than two weeks. Women are so often dismissed as being incapable of making their own decisions about birth based on their being emotional or hysterical (Victorian concepts) and assumptions are made about their body’s capabilities — one doctor the book talks about said women are stupid for even attempting vaginal birth when a cesarean was an option. It’s almost as though 200,000 years of vaginas successfully birthing new humans counts for nothing.

Sorry to rant, but your article really struck a chord. I hope you’re getting the support you need in these final few months. Your body is absolutely made for this, no questions, no ifs, no buts.

China specialist, feminist, political scientist in progress. Reviews, socialism & everyday academia. Low-brow, no jargon/acronyms. Editor of The Open Bookshelf.

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