1st Edition

Socio-Cultural Insights of Childbirth in South Asia Stories of Women in the Himalayas

By Sabitra Kaphle Copyright 2022
    208 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book analyses the significant socio-cultural factors impacting childbirth experiences of women living in remote and complex social settings.

    This book challenges the notion that childbirth is a universal biological event which women experience in their reproductive lives and provides an in-depth social perspective of understanding childbirth. Drawing on evocative stories of women living in the Himalayas, the author discusses how childbirth should be supported to enable women to take control and ownership of their experiences. Based on extensive research undertaken in remote mountain regions of Nepal, the book provides evidence for and discussion of childbirth in the context of other countries, cultures and communities. Utilising a feminist perspective, this book critiques medical control of childbirth and argues in favour of giving power to women so that they can make decisions which are right for them. In doing so, the author unpacks complexities associated with women’s lives in remote communities and highlights the significance of addressing broader determinants impacting birth outcomes and valuing childbirth traditions to ensure cultural safety for women, families and societies.

    Through exploring the wide range of factors influencing women and their childbirth experiences, this book offers a new model for childbirth that policy makers, practitioners, communities, educators, researchers and other professionals can use to make childbirth an empowering experience for women. It will be of interest to academics and professionals in the fields of public health, midwifery, health promotion, sociology and South Asian Studies.

    1. Introduction: Socio-cultural insights into childbirth in South Asia  2. Socio-cultural perspective of childbirth  3. Childbirth in complex social settings: Methodological reflections  4. Tradition, culture and spirituality: God inside  5. Women, family members and significant others: Paradox of power  6. A complex array of factors: Too far and too hard  7. Insights for policy and practice: the WCEC model of childbirth  8. Conclusion: Possibilities for positive childbirth experiences


    Sabitra Kaphle is a Lecturer of Public Health at Central Queensland University, Australia. Her research focuses on health and social issues in South Asia and Sub Saharan countries.