DATE: Monday, March 11, 2013
TIME: 2:00 p.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Colleen T. Crowley
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Negative Psychological Effects of Medicalized Birth"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-B; 2004
CHAIR: Dr. James Broderick
READER: Dr. Karen Shipley
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Kimberly Frye
Crowley, C. (2013). Negative Psychological Effects of Medicalized Birth (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
A comprehensive examination of literature available on the psychological effects of the birthing practices in the United States, coupled with the findings of this research revealed that medicalized birthing practices result in symptoms consistent with depression, post-traumatic stress and additional detrimental psychological effects in women. Additionally, this research examined psychological states following a natural birth in women who had also had a medicalized birth, allowing for a greater understanding through contrast of the causes for these negative symptoms.
The medicalized births involved feelings of dissatisfaction with pre-natal care, lack of support and education, disempowerment, regret and sadness following the experience. Additionally, when recalling the events, the medicalized birth created symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of major depression and post-traumatic stress such as loss, recurring negative thoughts, sense of isolation, changes in sleep and eating patterns, intrusive memories, and physical and mental pain. By contrast a natural birth allowed for a joyful and meaningful experience inspiring feelings of wholeness, health, and in some cases spiritual transcendence.
Using a descriptive phenomenological method, this study examined six women who each experienced two different kinds of births. One birth was highly medicalized with significant interventions, while the other birth was less interfered with, spontaneous, and natural. Interviewing participants who experienced each kind of birthing experience allowed for a unique research opportunity by exploring two very different experiences in the same participant. The interviews were conducted in a one on one setting.
The research has multiple implications for treatment of women suffering from the negative effects of the medicalized birth. By providing a clear understanding of the specifics of the experiences, and what is felt on an intimate level during the medicalized birth, clinical psychology can help treat the resulting symptoms. Additionally, there are other clinical opportunities present in a range of settings such as public health organizations, universities, and hospitals to utilize the findings of this research. Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.