The Medicalisation of Childbirth and Access to Homebirth in the UK: Covid-19 and Beyond

This article was originally published here

Med Law Rev. 2021 Oct 20:fwab040. doi: 10.1093/medlaw/fwab040. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

In this article, we explore how the law has perpetuated the medicalisation of childbirth, and outline why this may limit the ability of birthing persons to access and opt for homebirth. We argue that this is inherently problematic because it restricts choice and autonomy in childbirth. We suggest that the widespread blanket withdrawals of homebirthing services by National Health Service trusts during theCoronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic serves as an illustrative example of the broader failure to recognise, both socially and legally, the significance of homebirth for some. We argue that, if framed correctly, the law has the potential to support, rather than restrict, choice regarding place of birth.

PMID:34668011 | DOI:10.1093/medlaw/fwab040