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The Politics of Birth, 1e Paperback – July 5, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0750688765 ISBN-10: 0750688769 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Books for Midwives; 1 edition (July 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750688769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750688765
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,890,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The book will be a godsend for students who are looking for a concise analysis of a childbearing issue.
Rosemary Mander, Professor of Midwifery, University of Edinburgh
The Practising Midwife, July/August 2006

The Politics of Birth challenges readers to open their eyes, examine current practice, analyze the birth culture, and stay open to innovative ways of creating more humane environments for giving birth and becoming families. This deeply thoughtful, eminently practical book, full of intriguing surprises, is a welcome addition to my library
Elizabeth Hormann, EdM, IBCLC, Cologne, Germany
Journal of Human Lactation, Volume 22, Number 1, February 2006

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Lauren on January 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an anthropology textbook at my university that I just happened upon in the bookstore, thumbed through, and later bought here. I got it because of my interest in midwifery. I can definitely see the social anthropology in here (the author's profession) which serves to enhance the book in my opinion, making it more interesting. I assume the anthropological terms could make it a tougher read for some. But it's a very good multidisciplinary text overall and not too laborious (save the chapter where she goes on and on about her work with the NCT, which I found hard to push through). It delves into the birth culture and practices in "technocratic" societies versus other societies. It is obviously quite biased towards more natural midwife-led births with women free to move about, and *very* against modern hospital practices that Sheila finds to be doctor-centered (almost inhumane), but I expected that bias, as it's almost like the author's thesis. It's an eye-opening read for anyone who wants to see a global, comparative perspective on birth from a woman who has studied birth practices through time and space, and who is very clearly upset by the medicalization of birth.
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Format: Paperback
The Politics of Birth by Sheila Kitzinger is the work of an anthropologist academic which looks at birth from a global, historical perspective and was published by a textbook publishing company. Do you think this work was meant to be thought-provoking, well documented, and culture changing? It sure is! In the back of the book there are group discussion questions and a suggestion that this book would be good for midwifery, sociology, women's health, and primary care courses. It is that well documented and attitude altering.

Don't let that deter you though! Sheila Kitzinger has a way with words and presenting information. My favorite thing about this book is that she simply presents facts and weaves through history as she pulls out relevant information related to women and birth. She tells of her experience with teaching prenatal classes, her own births, and the stories of women and theirs births that she has encountered over her life time. The reader is left to come to their own conclusion based on the sound information given. With the main emphasis on the UK, American readers will see that not all developed countries do the same things we do, with differing and sometimes even better results for mothers and babies.

Sheila has a PhD in anthropology which inspired her to look at birth from a cultural and historical perspective. If you know how birth has been for thousands of years, and how other countries "do" birth, you might come to the conclusion that medical, technological, pathology driven maternity care is not necessarily the best way to take care of women in the childbearing year. The next conclusion you might come to is the fact that women need more than just physical care providers and safety. What else do childbearing women need? I'll give you a hint!
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