Childbirth Across Cultures

Ideas and Practices of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Postpartum

  • Helaine Selin

Part of the Science Across Cultures: the History of Non-Western Science book series (SACH, volume 5)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Robbie Davis-Floyd, Melissa Cheyney
    Pages 1-22
  3. Rebecca Sundhagen
    Pages 23-32
  4. Lynn Clark Callister, Inaam Khalaf
    Pages 33-39
  5. Travis Anna Harvey, Lila Buckley
    Pages 55-69
  6. Ip Wan-Yim
    Pages 71-76
  7. Sukhee Ahn
    Pages 77-83
  8. Satoko Yanagisawa
    Pages 85-94
  9. Harish Naraindas
    Pages 95-106
  10. Kaosar Afsana, Sabina Faiz Rashid
    Pages 123-135
  11. Marie Hatem, Fatima Temmar, Bilkis Vissandjée
    Pages 195-203
  12. Thubelihle Mathole, Simukai Shamu
    Pages 205-213
  13. Hadiza Shehu Galadanci, Suwaiba Ibrahim Sani
    Pages 215-220
  14. David P. Urassa, Andrea B. Pembe, Bruno F. Sunguya
    Pages 221-228
  15. Lennie Adeline Kamwendo
    Pages 235-244
  16. Linda V. Walsh
    Pages 255-264
  17. Back Matter
    Pages 287-314

About this book


Childbirth Across Cultures explores the childbirth process through globally diverse perspectives to offer a broader context with which to think about birth. It addresses multiple rituals and management models surrounding the labor and birth process from communities across the globe.

Labor and birth are biocultural events that are managed in countless ways. We are particularly interested in the notion of power. Who controls the pregnancy and the birth? Is it the hospital, the doctor, or the in-laws, and in which cultures does the mother have the control? These decisions, regarding place of birth, position, who receives the baby and even how the mother may or may not behave during the actual delivery are all part of the different ways that birth is handled.

The cultures included range from the Solomon Islands to Africa, Asia and the Americas. Other chapters cover Midwives and other Birth Attendants, Evolution of Birth, Women’s Birth Narratives, and Child Spacing and Breastfeeding.

This book will bring together global research conducted by professional anthropologists, midwives and doctors who work closely with the individuals from the cultures they are writing about, offering a unique perspective direct from the cultural group.


biocultural birth child labour politics power pregnancy ritual

Editors and affiliations

  • Helaine Selin
    • 1
  1. 1.Hampshire CollegeAmherstU.S.A.

Bibliographic information