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Database - Alliance francophone pour l'accouchement respecté (AFAR)

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Created on : 09 Apr 2006
Modified on : 02 Dec 2007

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Bibliographical entry (without author) :

The rhetoric of ‘‘natural’’ in natural childbirth: childbearing women’s perspectives on prolonged pregnancy and induction of labour. Social Science & Medicine 59 (2004) 1397–1408

Author(s) :

Rachel Emma Westfall, Cecilia Benoit

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Abstract (English)  :

It is widely known that the notion of prolonged pregnancy, defined medically as 41+ or 42+ weeks gestation, has been hotly debated within the medical and midwifery communities for many decades. Within this debate, pregnant women’s voices have rarely been heard. Presented here are the results of a qualitative study of self-care in pregnancy, birth and lactation with a non-random sample of women in British Columbia, Canada. A panel of 27 women was interviewed in the third trimester of pregnancy, and 23 of the same participants were re-interviewed post-partum (50 interviews in total). Interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically. Many of the women said they favoured a natural birth and were opposed to labour induction at the time of the first interview. Yet all but one of the ten women who went beyond 40 weeks gestation used self-help measures to stimulate labour. These women did not perceive prolonged pregnancy as a medical problem per se. Rather they saw it as an inconvenience, a worry to their friends, families and maternity care providers, and a prolongation of physical discomfort. The findings are interpreted by examining the literature on the medicalization/healthicization of childbirth.

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Keywords :

➡ psychology ; induction of labor ; post-term pregnancy

Author of this record :

Bernard Bel — 09 Apr 2006

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