'Gone with the Wind'--interpreting media representations of normal childbirth.

Author:Kennedy, Holly Powell
 
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Dr Holly Powell-Kennedy, co-chair of the ICM Research Sanding Committee, gave a fascinating talk to an audience at King's College London, on 3 March 2008. Holly used images from the 1939 film Gone with the Wind to illustrate how childbirth has been a topic surrounded by ignorance and fear over many years. She compared the messages from the film with material published over past decades intended to enlighten women's lack of knowledge.

Holly summarises this work: 'Women ultimately hold the greatest power to change how maternity care is provided and are active agents in the making of their history in childbirth. Women turn to various resources to inform themselves about birth, including family, friends, public and private discourse, media and health tare providers. Understanding women's decision-making about childbirth choices is complex--how do they interpret the multiple messages in the media?

'A recent cross-sectional national survey of over 1500 mothers in the United States (US) indicated that 41-47% had induced or augmented labour, 32% gave birth via caesarean, 25% experienced an episiotomy and most were cared for by obstetricians. Many reported feeling overwhelmed, frightened and weak during their childbirth experience. Only 8-10% of...

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