The Social Construction of Birth


  • Barbara Katz Rothman MA

    1. Barbara Katz Rothman is a doctoral candidate in sociology at New York University, and teaches medical sociology at Brooklyn College and other colleges in the New York area, including the Downstate Continuing Education Program for Nurses. Her analysis of the social construction of birth led to her decision to have a home birth three years ago.
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Birth is discussed as a socially mediated experience, with emphasis on the role of the hospital in defining reality. Childbirth preparation is suggested as providing ways of dealing with the institution rather than the birth experience per se. Some implications for maternal satisfaction and mother-child relationships of the hospital as controller and definer of the birth experience are considered.