On Childbirth

This entry appears in the Blackwell Dictionary of Anthropology.
Thomas Barfield, ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996

Childbirth is the work of women as they labor and bear down with their uterine muscles to push their babies from the private inner world of their wombs into the larger world of society and culture. Although childbirth is a universal fact of human physiology, where, how, with whom, and even when a woman gives birth are often culturally determined.

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