Western maternity and medicine: an introduction

Linda Bryder*, Janet Greenlees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript

1 Citation (Scopus)


This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on the phenomenon of birth precisely because of its centrality to women's lives. It highlights how the full social context in which childbirth, or any other medical event occurs, has to be considered to understand its history. The dominant feminist view of childbirth in the 1970s was summarized by American feminist academic Sheryl Ruzek who claimed in 1978 that, obstetrician-gynecologists fight to keep delivery their exclusive domain, even if it requires transforming what might be otherwise normal births into surgical events. The subjects of the book are the various stakeholders in childbirth services, women, midwives, physicians, governments and the voluntary sector, as well as the broader ideological and religious concerns that underlay the services provided, and how these stakeholders and concerns have shaped women's experiences of childbirth.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWestern Maternity and Medicine, 1880-1990
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781315654409
ISBN (Print)9781138663008
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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