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Presentation Information

Edwin van Teijlingen

Social and medical models of childbirth

  • Speaker: Edwin van Teijlingen , MA, MEd, PhD, FHEA, MPHE
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, .1 Midwifery CEU

Pregnancy and birth are physiological events embedded in a social and cultural setting and therefore a good example of the application of a medical or social model.

On the one hand, the average woman in childbirth is not ill because pregnancy is not an illness. On the other hand, pregnant women are deemed to need a lot of health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Those who support the idea of a medical model often claim that: ‘Birth is only safe in retrospect’. Whilst those more in line with the social model would make the counterclaim that “every pregnancy is normal unless there are indications that something is wrong” or “childbirth is in principle a normal physiological event”.

The importance of understanding which model someone is adhering helps us to understand where they are coming from, what their likely view of the problem and hence to likely solutions are.