Cross-culturally, birthing practices can be better understood by examining the central belief system of a given culture. Through a discussion of the ideology, symbol, and value inherent within the central belief system of the Canadian society, that of science and technology, as well as by examining the historical development of obstetrics, it is possible to explain how a system of maternity care which over-emphasizes technology and de-emphasizes the woman's role in birthing has gained dominance in this country.
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Lois James-Chetelat, Ph.D.
Lois James-Chetelat is presently a consultant in health and development. She is a medical anthropologist and sociologist and has had experience in cross-cultural health care and developing world nursing. She can be contacted at 77 Canter Blvd., Nepean, Ont., Canada K2G 2M4.
JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.