“‘We don’t want to over-medicalize childbirth,’ Dr. Alison Michel tells me in the pastel maternity ward of the Victoria General Hospital. The forty-year-old family physician is a member of Quintessence, an all-female maternity care group known across BC’s capital as the most ‘woman centred,’ next to midwives. ‘We assume childbirth is a normal, natural, healthy thing that a woman’s body does,’ she explains, ‘so we do a lot of hands-on work with moms when they’re in active labour; things like massage and sometimes even acupressure.’ That’s the explicit goal, anyway. When I called to confirm the tour first thing in the morning, Michel had been up all night assisting with three deliveries, all via Caesarean section. In fact, she admitted the staff was a little nervous about a visit by a journalist. By the time I arrived, the local paper had broken some dispiriting news: ‘South Island Reports Highest C-section Rate.’ Just over one-third of the hospital’s births — more than at any other Canadian hospital — take place in the surgery.” Read more at The Walrus magazine.