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Pregnancy, a major life transition, significantly impacts aspects of a woman?s physical, psychological and social self. Theoretical perspectives of pregnancy are compared in terms of their utility. Using the theoretical frameworks of anthropologists van Gennep and Turner pregnancy is viewed as liminal, a space between social structures. Passage through pregnancy to parenthood is explored in its social context as a rite of passage. Viewing pregnancy and birth as a liminal phase provides a valuable framework for understanding normative and non-normative pregnancy experiences. Case studies are presented, with application and analysis illustrating the experience of liminality, and its inherent rituals and communitas.
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