Challenging the biomedical model of childbirth
Challenging the biomedical model of childbirth

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Challenging the biomedical model of childbirth

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 K213 Health and illness [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus