Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Second Advisor

Katie Acosta

Third Advisor

Elisabeth Burgess


This study is a content analysis on the emerging concept of traumatic birth using the ProQuest Central search database. I analyze the entrance of the term into both peer reviewed and popular texts. The purpose of the study is to understand the cultural and socio-historical context of the concept of traumatic birth and to consider how and by/for whom this concept developed and became accessible. I use theoretical frameworks of embodiment, medicalization, critical constructionism, and feminism to consider the implications of the phenomena of traumatic birth for birthing parents today. Using a grounded theory-based strategy, I examine the ways that the growing lens of trauma has influenced ideas around the experience of childbirth as well as the impact of modern birth rhetoric and practices on birthing parents’ interpretations of the event.