Pregnancy and Birth
A Reference Handbook
by Keisha L. Goode and Barbara Katz Rothman
June 2021, 323pp, 6 x 9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6921-1
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6922-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Though the infant mortality rate in the United States has been declining, it is still considerably higher than in other industrialized countries.

Pregnancy and Birth: A Reference Handbook provides students with information too often ignored in sex education—on what pregnancy and birth are, have been, and can be as transformative personal and social events.

Pregnancy and Birth: A Reference Handbook is a person-centered reference book on pregnancy and childbirth in the United States. The medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth is a theme; however, primary emphasis is on the historical and contemporary significance of the Midwifery Model of Care and how that can improve outcomes for all.

The volume opens with a background and history of the topic, followed by a chapter on related problems, controversies, and solutions. A Perspectives chapter contains essays from a variety of individuals who are invested in the topic of pregnancy and birth. The remaining chapters provide students with additional information, such as profiles, data and documents, resources, a chronology, and a glossary. This book is accessible to high school and college-level researchers, as well as general-interest readers curious about the topic.


  • Introduces readers to a perspective on U.S. pregnancy and childbirth that is person-centered
  • Centers the historical and contemporary significance of midwives and the Midwives Model of Care
  • Illuminates the strength of U.S obstetric dominance by reporting legislative and policy barriers limiting people's access to midwifery care
  • Highlights both the racial-ethnic disparities across the birth provider workforce and racial-ethnic disparities in U.S. birth outcomes
  • Highlights regional disparities, with specific attention to rural communities, in U.S. birth outcomes
Keisha L. Goode, PhD, is visiting assistant professor of sociology at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury. Her dissertation, Birthing, Blackness, and the Body: Black Midwives and Experiential Continuities of Institutional Racism was the first body of work to focus on the experiences and perceptions of contemporary black midwives. She is the first public member of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives Board of Directors, and currently serves as board secretary.

Barbara Katz Rothman, PhD, is professor of sociology at the City University of New York and Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland. Her newest book is A Bun in the Oven: How the Food and Birth Movements Resist Industrialization. Her prior books include In Labor, The Tentative Pregnancy, Recreating Motherhood, The Book of Life, Weaving a Family, Untangling Race and Adoption, and Laboring On. She is a past president of Sociologists for Women in Society and recipient of the “Midwifing the Movement” award from the Midwives Alliance of North America.


"A thoughtful look at issues confronting pregnant Americans."—Library Journal, September 1, 2021

"This is a source that will interest those involved in public health, women’s health, and health policy. Academic and health-sciences libraries will want to add it to their collections."—Booklist, October 8, 2021

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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