The language of labour: an examination of the discourses of childbirth

Midwifery. 1993 Dec;9(4):225-34. doi: 10.1016/0266-6138(93)90006-e.


Language is a central component in our understanding of the social world. Not only is it our main form of interpersonal communication; it also constructs and reflects the wider social reality we all experience. Through examination of the language and terminology of childbirth different social meanings of language can be discovered. It is suggested that attention to the language reveals this diversity and increases our understanding of this area of social life and would be a fruitful area for research.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric / psychology*
  • Language*
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Semantics*
  • Symbolism