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Childbirth outwardly appears to be a ‘natural’ biological process. Yet, as with so much else discussed in this book, childbirth has as much – if not more – to do with society and culture as it does with biology. This more holistic approach is central to a Health Studies understanding of childbirth, where the medical and biological elements of childbirth are but elements of a much wider and deeper perspective. The cultural differences in childbirth and the medicalization of childbirth are two key aspects of a more rounded approach to understanding childbirth and fall under particular consideration here. Doing so highlights the extent to which social processes and social constructions frame and influence the act and experience of childbirth, while also identifying tensions between ‘natural’ ...

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