Sociology of Midwifery

Authors: Van Teijlingen, E.

Editors: Deery, R., Denny, E. and Letherby, G.

Pages: 22-37

Publisher: Polity Press

Place of Publication: Cambridge

ISBN: 9780745662817


This chapter sets out the difference between sociology for midwifery and sociology of midwifery. A large part of this book focuses on the usefulness of sociology for midwifery, how sociology can help midwives to deliver better care. This chapter focuses on the sociology of midwifery, i.e. where sociologists have focused their study on midwives, midwifery or maternity services. In this chapter midwifery in its widest sense has been the topic of sociological study. The sociological topics highlighted in this chapter are the study of midwifery as an occupation or a profession; notions of culture in the world of midwifery; midwives and public health; and the medical versus social model of pregnancy and birth. Many chapters in this book cover sociology ‘for’ midwifery, i.e. they focus on those aspects of sociology which can be helpful for midwives to understand the world around them. For example, sociology teaching on inequalities and health or stigma and discrimination can help midwives understand disadvantages their clients’ experience in their daily life. In this way sociology for midwifery can help midwives further develop their skills . This chapter on the sociology ‘of’ midwifery as supposed to sociology for midwives addresses the way sociology as a discipline studies midwives, midwifery and maternity care. In other words, it refers to the sociological study of midwifery and midwives, and more widely maternity care and maternity services. Sociologists study people in groups (e.g. the workplace, communities, gender, ethnicity, social class, or the family), and factors related to culture and structure in society. Sociology addresses questions around the interactions between midwives and pregnant women, the so-called ‘midwife-mother relationship’, which is more generally referred to as health-care providers-service user interaction (or in medicine the ‘doctor-patient relationship’). Other sociologists study the role of gender, ethnicity or social class and its impact on midwifery.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Edwin van Teijlingen