The Epidural in Context

  • Elizabeth Newnham
  • Lois McKellar
  • Jan Pincombe


This chapter presents a historical introduction to birth analgesia and the influence of scientific and medical discourse on understandings of women’s bodies, influencing the ways in which women themselves can frame their own corporeal knowledge. Here, the process of birth, and how it is understood within Western cultural discourses, is investigated more thoroughly. We highlight the influence of biomedicine as a dominant birth discourse and explore current medical knowledge about epidural analgesia, exposing some of the assumptions behind evidence-based medicine and technology use.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Newnham
    • 1
  • Lois McKellar
    • 2
  • Jan Pincombe
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College DublinThe University of DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.School of Nursing and MidwiferyUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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