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Childbirth

  • By: Natalie Jolly
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

While childbirth is certainly a biological event, it also has a sociocultural component that has changed over time to reflect particular historical moments. At varying times childbirth has been a private affair undertaken by a woman alone, an intimate experience shared by two partners, and a grand social event involving friends and family. This shift over time can be seen to correspond to changes in society; the status of childbirth is closely linked with dominant views on how a society sees women and to some degree reflects the overall social standing of women at that time. In the U.S. context, the changing nature of childbirth is apparent. During the 1920s, childbirth became increasingly medical, moving from the home to the hospital. Many have cited the ...

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