Thesis: Twilight Sleep and its Contributions in Shaping Perceptions of Childbirth
This thesis explores the impact of Twilight Sleep on women and physicians and their perceptions of childbirth. Twilight Sleep empowered women to take on a more active role in shaping the medical care they received rather than accepting childbirth as a natural event associated with physical and mental trauma and high risk of mortality. For doctors, the debate regarding Twilight Sleep’s safety and efficacy affirmed a ubiquitous notion that childbirth ought to be seen as a pathological rather than natural event. By considering childbirth a medical condition that necessitated treatment, physicians had to evaluate their duties to their patients. In empowering women to be involved in making medical decisions and forcing physicians to balance their medical training with their patients’ needs, Twilight Sleep helped to establish more reciprocal doctor-patient relationships.