Study reveals doctor, midwife conflict

May 13, 2009 at 12:59 AM
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CORVALLIS, Ore., May 13 (UPI) -- Two Oregon State University researchers have uncovered a pattern of distrust and some outright antagonism between physicians at hospitals and midwives.

Melissa Cheyney and doctoral student Courtney Everson said their research revealed an ongoing conflict between physicians and midwives that is reflective of discord across the country.

The researchers examined birth records in Oregon's Jackson County from 1998 through 2003 -- a period when that county saw higher-than-expected rates of prematurity and low birth weight.

The study revealed that assisted homebirths did not appear to be contributing to the lower-than-average health outcomes and that the homebirths documented all had successful outcomes.

However, discussions with doctors and midwives uncovered a deep gulf between the two groups of birthing service providers, with doctors expressing the belief that only hospital births are safe, while midwives felt marginalized, mocked and put on the defensive by physicians.

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