chapter  11
CONSTRUCTING RISK: MATERNITY CARE, LAW, AND MALPRACTICE
Elizabeth Cartwright and Jan Thomas
ByATERNITY ALPRACTICE
Pages 11

Danger has always attended childbirth. Among the many complications of pregnancy and delivery are hemorrhages, obstructed labor, infection, toxemia, and unsafe abortions (Adeyi & Morrow 1997). Fetal/neonatal problems include asphyxia, neurological problems, infections, and prematurity (Stalnaker et al. 1997). Before maternity care was moved into medical institutions, pregnancy and birth were widely regarded as dangerous events. Midwives and other women attended births at home and did what they could to alleviate the laboring woman’s pain and ease the passage of the baby, but morbidity and mortality were a pregnant woman’s constant companions (Arney & Neill 1982).