Social Perspectives on Pregnancy and Chilbirth for Midwives, Nurses and the Caring Professions

Social Perspectives on Pregnancy and Chilbirth for Midwives, Nurses and the Caring Professions

Social Perspectives on Pregnancy and Chilbirth for Midwives, Nurses and the Caring Professions

Social Perspectives on Pregnancy and Chilbirth for Midwives, Nurses and the Caring Professions

Synopsis

• How does pregnancy and childbirth affect women's lives?
• How do we understand the connections between the biological and social processes that shape experiences of pregnancy and childbirth?
• What influences contemporary approaches to maternity care and midwifery education? This book explores contemporary issues around pregnancy and childbirth using a feminist sociological approach. Becoming pregnant and giving birth are seen here as complex social processes. The book therefore goes beyond biological accounts of pregnancy and childbirth to examine these social processes. The biological and the social are seen as linked together. Knowledge, power, identity and the body are key concepts in the book and important for understanding the relationship between the biological and social. Written in a clear, accessible style the text will assist nurses, midwives and the caring professions to use sociological ideas and theories. It is divided into four parts that look at ways of knowing, the professionals, constructing identities and women's bodies. In the conclusion the author discusses the implications of adopting a feminist and sociological approach to health care practice. Social Perspectives on Pregnancy and Childbirth has been designed for use as a key text on a range of pre-registration and post-registration degree courses for nurses and midwives, and is suitable for use on a range of undergraduate programmes in social science and health studies.

Excerpt

Pregnancy and childbirth are one of the natural events that the majority of women experience. Midwives and nurses play an important role in supporting women during pregnancy and childbirth. However, the medical model that underpins the ways in which medical doctors treat pregnant women, which at best assumes that 'something will go wrong' and at worst treats them as if they were sick, is at odds with women's own understanding. Women understand pregnancy and childbirth as a natural process. Furthermore medical doctors tend to assume that they know best whereas women want to be consulted and give informed consent to any necessary medical intervention. Whereas doctors believe that a satisfactory outcome to pregnancy and childbirth is a well mother and child, women want also to have experience the outcome as pleasurable. The dominance of the medical model and of hospital medicine in Britain and other industralized societies means that that pregnancy and childbirth have become medicalized. However, this medical model has be challenged by midwives and an increasing body of feminist research.

In this book Julie Kent, provides a comprehensive overview of the feminist research on pregnancy and childbirth. She also gives an account of her own research. Not only does she provide an account of the literature that is accessible to practitioners but also explores the way in which the findings from the research are relevant to professional practice. This book will not only enable the practitioners understanding but facilitate the further development of evidenced practice.

Pamela Abbott . . .

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