• Birth is a ritual, an initiation in a technocratic culture
    Birth is a ritual, an initiation in a technocratic culture
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    Birth as initiation in a technocratic culture
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    Then I realized it was a piece of high technology that made obstetrics a high-tech profession. Before we had the monitor, obstetricians were kind of looked down on. You know, doctors have PET scans and CAT scans, and those things were cool, and, doctors can get all this information from inside the body. Well, once obstetrics got ultrasound and the fetal monitor. In the 1980 edition of Williams Obstetrics, the preface to it says, (paraphrased): Isn’t this a glorious time to be an obstetrician? Now, we have two patients because now, with ultrasound, we can peer into the mother’s body; we can study the condition of the fetus, and we don’t have to rely on the mother, anymore, for information about the baby. Isn’t that exciting! That’s what they were all about. I realized that the fetal monitor and the ultrasound were the two powerful, high-technology symbols that made obstetrics a profession—a viable, acceptable, reputable medical profession.