In the last century, technology has revolutionized the way women give birth. Actually giving birth hasn’t changed one bit, babies are still born and they will continue to be born, but the way women think about birth has drastically changed. My great grandmother had two of her children at home, which was considered perfectly normal and my other great grandmother had all of her children at home and never even considered going to a hospital because everyone she knew gave birth at home.

What Has Changed?
For starters, women these days have more pain options available to them, they have more technology available throughout the pregnancy and birthing process, and even the economics system of healthcare for pregnant women has changed. Today, when women find out that they’re pregnant, they automatically assume the process will go smoothly and that they’ll have access to medical help and advice. Not many women think about the dangers of getting pregnant or that they and their child won’t survive the process.

Also, in today’s world, a large percentage of pregnancies are planned and women are having fewer children. This has created an atmosphere where each individual pregnancy and birth earns more attention and individualized care through the use of various pregnancy technologies such as ultrasounds.

Pain Management
Pain management has hugely impacted the way women perceive pregnancy. Women expect that they will have the right to choose how they give birth and if that involves an epidural, then that’s their choice. My grandmother and great grandmother didn’t always have that option. Every one of my great aunts and uncles born as well as my grandmother were born in our family’s farmhouse with the assistance of a neighbor and a midwife if she got there in time. No pain medication was used because there wasn’t immediate access to it and most women had to just get through the process without.

In the 50’s and 60’s un-medicated birth became a new trend just because of the risks often associated with medicated birth.  However, these women did have the option of giving birth in a hospital with the help of an epidural and other modern technology is they wanted it.

How Have the Economics of Childbirth Changed Perceptions?
In the 20th century, most hospitals began using pain medication and most doctors were qualified to attend births. Also, women and physicians began to believe that hospitals were a safer place to give birth and more families had the means to pay for care in a hospital instead of using the services of a midwife at home. After a while, giving birth in a hospital surrounded by nurses and doctors became the standard for childbirth.

Leggitt, K. (n.d.). How has childbirth changed in this century? . Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing.