The Language of Birth

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Our language both reflects and influences our attitudes and behavior. This Roundtable Discussion explores the language used in obstetrics and in the interactions between caregivers and women or their families: What do practitioners say to mothers and families during labor? At birth? In consultations? To describe what is happening? To encourage a woman's efforts? To lighten the atmosphere? When advising about possible interventions? Medical terminology in perinatal care can often be deceptive or confusing, not only for mothers but for caregivers. The authors of this Roundtable, representing health professionals from different specialties and interests in the field, have examined some examples of such language use, misuse, and abuse in perinatal care. (BIRTH 39:2 June 2012)

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2012



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