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Mc Donaldization Of Childbirth Essay

1642 words - 7 pages

Traditionally, childbirth has emphasized the joy of bringing a new life into the world. However, with the McDonaldization of healthcare, childbirth seems to be more about standardization over nature. Hospitals have begun to copy procedural ideas of major corporations and childbirth has begun to be centred on efficiency, predictability and control.To generate more money, hospitals have placed focus on efficiency, taking a woman through childbirth as quickly as possible. As a result, standard, predictable procedures are necessary. Technology is being used at an increasing rate, acting as a control over the natural process of childbirth. Overall, it seems that selling the idea of care is more important than the care itself.Throughout efficiency, predictability and control, there is the idea of ?irrationality of rationality.? According to Ritzer, ?many of these irrationalities involve the opposite of the basic principles of McDonaldization,? (269) with the basic principles being efficiency, predictability and control. This aspect of the McDonaldization thesis will be discussed in conjunction with the basic principles.Efficiency Efficiency is the effort to discover the best possible means to whatever end is desired. (Ritzer: 268) In other words, efficiency is the quickest route from point A to point B. For childbirth, it is the quickest delivery with the least amount of pain.Hospitals have increased their efficiency by shortening stays after delivery, as well as by increasing their usage of medical interventions. Medical interventions include induced labours, epidurals, and caesarean sections. This move to efficiency has created a new social phenomenon that has been dubbed ?too-posh-to-push.? ?Too-posh-to-push? has resulted because more and more women are asking for the use of medical intervention. They want to have a baby, but they don?t want to go through the natural delivery nor do they want to stay in the hospital to recover.Medical interventions are on a rise, but in-hospital recovery is in a serious decline. More women are opting for inducing labour and using epidurals, which put both mother and child at a higher risk, but hospital are sending them home earlier than they would have been even a decade ago. Before women used to stay, on average, 4 days after delivery, now they stay 1 or 2 days at most. With mother and child now having to face post-partum complications at home, emergency rooms have to pick up the slack of the maternity wards.Medical interventions are also leading to increasing the risks for the baby. More babies are being admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to be placed in an incubator. Medical interventions increase the risk of babies being underweight, premature, and having birth defects, although it must be noted that medical interventions are not the sole cause. Babies tend to remain in NICU for an average stay of 2 days, which could have been prevented if medical interventions were not used. That is not to say...

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