There are two things that I hear other women bring up when they talk about LDS birth culture...eve's curse and the dominate male hierarchy. I am going to discuss both of these from what LDS women are taught now and my own experiences as well as experiences of other women that I have discussed this with. While both of these are brought up as reasons for Mormon women's childbirth choices it has been my experience that most Mormon women base their choices off of the prevalent American culture more than their religion.
Another thing I have seen is that those who conscientiously make their choices(whether for a more medicalized birth or not) do so on the assumption that life is sacred-that their bodies are sacred-and that the process of birth and motherhood should be sacred. From what I have seen these assumptions form more a part of their choices than eve's curse or a male hierarchy. That said I don't pretend to speak for all LDS women. This blog is just based off of my own observations and beliefs.
A prevailing thought hundreds of years ago among the Christian world is that the pain of childbirth was given to women as a curse for disobedience and therefore she should suffer pain. In fact there was a lot of debate about whether women should be offered medication during birth because of this. As I was looking through talks and scriptures I couldn't find a specific doctrine that said women must experience pain during childbirth. Of course there is the scripture in Genesis that talks about how Eve will bear children in sorrow and Adam would have to work by the sweat of his brow (See Genesis 3). But there is nothing that says that those pains and sorrows should not be alleviated. They are more a consequence of mortality. What is notable about how the Mormon religion teaches the Fall is that it not seen as something bad. It was seen as something necessary and ultimately good. Therefore what Eve did was good and she is never berated in the LDS religion for making the choice to partake of the fruit and enter mortality. (For a good article on how Mormons view the Fall go here).
Dallin H. Oaks makes this statement in regards to how Mormons view Eve and her role in mortality:
I'll post in my next blog about patriarchy(man I'm getting controversial:)) and the role that might or might not play in how Mormon women view birth.