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Midwifery. 1990 Sep;6(3):125-32.

Stereotypes of childbearing women: a look at some evidence.

Erratum in

  • Midwifery 1990 Dec;6(4):232.

Abstract

We all use stereotypes to help us to behave in what we hope will be appropriate ways towards people that we have not met before. On the labour ward midwives are likely to use such stereotypes to make assumptions about what a particular woman is likely to want during labour and delivery. Two commonly encountered stereotypes are those of the 'well educated, middle-class NCT type' and the 'uneducated working class woman'. This paper explores evidence for these two stereotypes drawing on data from a large scale prospective survey of women's expectations of childbirth. The stereotypes were not supported in a number of important respects. In particular: women of different levels of education were equally likely to subscribe to the ideal of avoiding drugs during labour; the less educated women did not want to hand over all control to the staff; it was less educated women who had the highest expectations that birth would be a fulfilling experience.

PMID:
2233393
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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