Choices of care in the third stage of labour : a Foucauldian discourse analysis : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Health Science at Massey University
For the majority of women, the culmination of pregnancy and birth is the arrival of the baby. The third stage of labour, or the birth of the whenua, is the completion of labour and the end of the pregnancy. This time of birth is largely disregarded but can be decisive in the postnatal health of the women. This study examines the third stage of labour focussing on the choices made by women regarding their care with particular reference to the information used by women and midwives to assist choice. The project places the birth of the whenua within the labour continuum, and within the context of the participant's life experience. The philosophy of Michel Foucault suggests that power and knowledge within discourse gives rise to truths and provides authority for statements and actions within the discourse. This project utilises Foucault's definition of discourse and is used to discern the varying discourses, and to locate possible dominant and emergent discourses, within the specific data collected and presented in the thesis.