The Critical Social Voice of Midwifery: Midwives in Ontario

Nadya Burton, PhD Rachel Ariss, SJD

Many researchers have called community midwifery of the 1970s and 1980s a social movement. At the heart of the many goals of that movement was the desire to bring about significant social change regarding the medical and social contexts of birth. This article is an initial exploration into the critical social voice of midwifery and its current expression in Ontario, through interviewing midwives about their thoughts on the connections between midwifery, social activism and social change. The regulation and funding of midwifery in Ontario has created a new structural environment for midwifery practice and it is the phase of socio-cultural change following legislative change that is the focus of this paper. Speaking with midwives about midwifery practice and social change will help make visible the oppositional, critical work that midwives continue to do. This paper focuses on four themes identified as particular sites of the social change work of midwives in Ontario.

midwifery, midwives, social movements, social change, birth.

The article has been peer-reviewed.


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