Maternity Homes in Japan: Reservoirs of Normal Childbirth

Etsuko Matsuoka and Fumiko Hinokuma

in Birth Models That Work

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780520248632
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943339 | DOI:
Maternity Homes in Japan: Reservoirs of Normal Childbirth

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Policymakers and medical communities have acknowledged maternity homes as a valid choice of birthing place. This chapter shows that maternity homes in Japan function not only as reservoirs of normal births, but also as training and educational facilities for both young and student midwives, opening with the description of general attitudes toward childbirth in Japan, contrasting them with those in the West. It provides a brief history of Japanese maternity homes, describing two of them in detail, along with a vivid depiction of one woman's experience of giving birth in a maternity home. This analysis focuses on four characteristics of Japanese maternity homes: the importance of waiting for the baby to be born, the value of labor pain, mothering the mother, and birth as a family event. Finally, the study presents the average transfer rates of maternity homes in the pre-, peri-, and postnatal periods, to evaluate their overall safety.

Keywords: Japanese maternity homes; normal births; average transfer rates; childbirth; birthing place

Chapter.  11505 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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