Midwives and other health care professionals need to have a deep understanding of the various lives childbearing women live in order to support them insightfully and practise in a nuanced manner.

The Social Context of Birth has been revised, updated and enlarged to provide an essential understanding of the different lives women live and in which they birth their children. For the first time, it also contains original primary research on the perspectives of student midwives as they progress through their three year training. This comprehensive guide provides countless valuable insights into the many different lives, experiences and expectations of women in their childbearing years in the twenty-first century, especially vulnerable women. Written by a team of highly experienced health professionals, it also covers contentious areas of maternity care, such as new reproductive technologies and fetal surveillance.

A true essential for all healthcare professionals who work with women giving birth, such as midwives, nurses, health visitors and obstetricians, and wish to deepen their knowledge of women’s lives.

chapter 1|18 pages

Women and society

chapter 2|14 pages

Women and sex

chapter 3|17 pages

Women, poverty and childbirth

chapter 4|18 pages

The family

chapter 8|16 pages

Female genital mutilation

chapter 9|15 pages

Transition to motherhood

chapter 10|11 pages

Maternal–infant attachment

chapter 11|12 pages

The medicalisation of childbirth

chapter 12|12 pages

The socialisation of student midwives

Rewriting the landscape

chapter 13|19 pages

Social support and childbirth

chapter 14|16 pages

Unhappiness after childbirth

chapter 16|14 pages

Teenage motherhood

chapter 17|11 pages

Women in prison

chapter 18|18 pages

Assisted conception

Threat or opportunity?

chapter 19|15 pages

Fetal surveillance

chapter 20|14 pages


A natural phenomenon or a cultural construct?

chapter 21|13 pages

Experiencing disability