In the Company of Women: enacting autonomy within the perinatal nursing relationship

Nursing Ethics 10 (6):580-587 (2003)
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An understanding of autonomy has important significance in North American health care. Although a respect for autonomy is necessary to protect the self-determination and agency of birthing women in hospital settings, I suggest that enactments of autonomy that are independent of relationships offer only an incomplete interpretation of such a vital concept. In this article I explore an understanding of autonomy situated within the context of a relational birthing narrative. In so doing, autonomy becomes conceptualized as contextual and concrete, giving rise to an embodied view of the birthing woman



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