A shocking, revelatory account of the dangerous misogyny that permeates pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood in America.
“Supported by ample data and suffused with anger… Yarrow convincingly recasts this country’s maternal health care system as needlessly dehumanizing, prioritizing expediency and profit over the best interests of a population of women rendered vulnerable… and she describes her own experience with a vividness that counterbalances the accumulation of facts.” – New York Times
Modern medicine should make pregnancy and childbirth safer for all. But in Birth Control, award-winning journalist Allison Yarrow reveals how women are controlled, traumatized, injured, and even killed because of the traditionalist practices of medical professionals and hospitals.
Ever since doctors stole control of birth from midwives in the 19th century, women have been steamrolled by a male-dominated medical establishment that has everyone convinced that birthing bodies are inherently flawed and that every pregnancy is a crisis that it alone can “solve.” Common medical practices and procedures violate human rights and the law, yet take place daily. Misogyny and racism, not scientific evidence and support, shape the overwhelming majority of America’s four million annual births.
Drawing on extensive reporting, expert interviews, an original survey of 1,300 mothers, and her own personal experiences, Yarrow documents how modern maternal health care is insidiously, purposefully designed to take power from women to the detriment of their physical and mental health—not just during labor, but for years after. She then shows a better way, exploring solutions both cutting-edge and ancient to—finally—return power and control to birthing people.
Full of urgent insights and heartfelt emotion, Birth Control is an explosive call to action.