Hospitals

Book Reviews 23,3

Publication Date: 
03/2009

ABSTRACT: This article offers a historical account of the changes in birth that the author reflects on after decades as a practicing obstetrician. In preliterate and pre-agricultural societies, women used to isolate themselves to give birth. It seems that at that phase of the history of humanity the only person who could be around was the mother of the parturient, an ant, or another experienced mother. Then, for thousands of years, childbirth has been more and more socialized and culturally controlled. During this long period the birth environment remained mostly feminine.

The Masculinisation of the Birth Environment

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Publication Date: 
March 2009

This article offers a historical account of the changes in birth that the author reflects on after decades as a practicing obstetrician. In preliterate and pre-agricultural societies, women used to isolate themselves to give birth. It seems that at that phase of the history of humanity the only person who could be around was the mother of the parturient, an ant, or another experienced mother. Then, for thousands of years, childbirth has been more and more socialized and culturally controlled. During this long period the birth environment remained mostly feminine.

References: 

Donnison, J. (1977). Midwives and medical men. London: Heinemann.

Odent, M. (2009). The functions of the orgasms: the highways to transcendence. London: Pinter & Martin.

Odent, M. (2004). Knitting midwives for drugless childbirth? Midwifery Today, 71, 21-22.

Von Siebold, E. C. J. (1839). Versuch einer Geschichte der Gerburtshulfe, Berlin.