Risk, Pregnancy and Childbirth

by Kirstie Coxon, Mandie Scamell & Andy Alaszewski
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Publisher: Taylor and Francis

Publication Date: August 12, 2018

ISBN: 9781351969055

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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Over the last hundred years, pregnancy and childbirth has become increasingly safe – yet it is still a site of risk, and a contested ground on which health professionals and pregnant women both face high costs of error. In this context, all those involved in managing pregnancy and birth are expected to identify and mitigate risk: pregnant women are subject to increasing surveillance to ensure the safety of the unborn foetus, and every aspect of childbearing is increasingly medicalised. This publication brings together fascinating social science research to explore the ways in which risk is both created and managed in pregnancy and childbirth. The introductory chapters reflect on the changing social context of childbirth, in particular the medicalisation of both pregnancy and childbirth with development of specialist practitioners, such as obstetricians and midwives who claim to have the knowledge, technology and skills to identify and manage the risks involved. The next three chapters that examine the ways in which women’s behaviour during pregnancy is constructed as potentially risky -- for example smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs, and how these risks are monitored and mitigated. The final two parts of the book address the construction of and responses to both medicalisation and risk in childbirth. Altogether, it represents a valuable insight into the complex world of pregnancy, childbirth and risk. This book brings together editorials and articles originally published in special and open issues of Health, Risk and Society.