Challenging the biomedical model of childbirth
This free course introduces three important factors influencing our understanding of health and illness: the medicalisation of childbirth; how the biomedical model is being challenged; and how a broader, more social view of childbirth is emerging.
You will explore the biomedical model of childbirth, and how this has been challenged by some health professionals and service users. There has been a strong impetus in the UK to improve care for women during childbirth, and this has included a move away from a medical model where pregnancy and childbirth are seen as something pathological – as an illness – towards a broader, more social model of care. This course discusses the official response to this move, and how it has played out in practice. You will hear from three women who have had very different experiences and consider the effectiveness of policies designed to give women more choice during childbirth.
Before you start, consider how to use your study of this course – for example, by recording your ideas in a paper-based or online journal. If you are a health practitioner, you may wish to use your work to help build a portfolio of evidence of your health and illness knowledge and skills.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.