The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course addresses the social organisation of birth and maternity services including sociological understandings of childbirth and midwifery. This is an area of current policy debate and a topic of great public and personal interest for many people. Students will be introduced to the social, cultural and historical background to these issues so that they can be able to enter into these debates in a critically informed manner.

The course will also introduce students to concepts of gender, power and professionalism underpinning the sociological approach to birth and midwifery. The course is designed as an elective for all students but should be of interest to students in the social sciences and those engaging in professional preparation as midwives or other health professionals.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Winter - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify and compare sociological approaches to childbirth and professions, including midwifery.

2. Locate, analyse and discuss scholarly literature addressing contemporary childbirth issues.

3. Communicate research findings to a general audience.


Students will research the history of childbirth practices, cross cultural and international literature on the midwifery profession and comparative maternity services policy.

Assumed knowledge

Successful completion of 40 units at 1000 level

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Library Research Paper (30%)

Quiz: 3 Online Quizzes (30%) - one to be completed at the end of each module.

Report: Report (40%)

Contact hours



Online 4 hour(s) per Week for 3 Weeks

On-line readings and context activities Optional collaborate sessions

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 25 hour(s) per Week for 3 Weeks