chapter  16
Health-care professionals as guides in the transition to motherhood
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 13

A primagravida has a marginal social status while she occupies that transitional state when she is not yet a mother but no longer a maiden. Located between the past and the future, she is in temporal transition blurring social as well as spatial boundaries between inside and out and the corporeal entities of self and other. In many cultures, pregnancy also hangs between natural and supernatural. In most societies, the marginal mother-to-be is provided with a female guide, who will act an intermediary between her and society. In addition, the obstetrician or midwife assisting a labouring woman is informed too, by the physical dangers inherent in the situation and of their own godlike sense of responsibility for producing a live, undamaged child. In maternity nursing, there seem to be a situation which is further aggravated by hierarchical splits between obstetricians and mid wives.