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Created on : 10 Jun 2018
Modified on : 17 Nov 2018

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Bibliographical entry (without author) :

Position gynécologique et construction d’une vulnérabilité du corps féminin / How lithotomy position during childbirth constructs a vulnerable female body. La Revue Sage-Femme. Volume 17, Issue 3, June 2018, Pages 114–121.

Author(s) :

A. Massona, C. Schantz.

Year of publication :


URL(s) :…

Résumé (français)  :


Cet article interroge le contexte dans lequel la position gynécologique s’est imposée et ce que cette norme peut révéler de la société française. En effet, selon la dernière enquête nationale périnatale en 2016, 95, 5 % des femmes accouchant en France ont accouché en position gynécologique bien que cette posture ne soit pas la plus favorable. Dans cette position, la femme est allongée sur le dos, les jambes posées dans les étriers.

Matériels et méthode

D’abord en retraçant un historique de cette position d’accouchement, puis à travers une observation dans des salles de naissances complétée d’entretiens semi-directifs avec des sages-femmes, nous montrerons comment l’institution médicale française, à travers cette position, contribue à construire une vulnérabilité corporelle naturalisée des femmes.


Cet article souhaite démontrer que la position gynécologique s’inscrit dans la normalisation de la médecine moderne et de l’accouchement aujourd’hui en France et qu’elle est le produit d’un ordre social construit et contrôlé.

Abstract (English)  :


In 2016, more than 9 women out of 10 who had a baby in France went into labor in gynecological position. In this particular position, the woman is lying flat on her back with her legs place into stirrups. Where does this position come from? So far, we have learned that this setup is not the best way to proceed to carry out a biological childbirth.

Material and method

How to explain that this technique is still used? To answer this question, we will start with a history of obstetric medicine before we start analyzing thoroughly a combination of field observation and semi direct interviews conducted with midwives.


This will also allow us to show how the medical institutions contribute to shape what is now considered as standardized body vulnerability for women. Throughout our work, we were also able to cast some light on this particular phenomenon that creates a social and a cultural norm and its importance in the gender role in our society.

Sumário (português)  :

Resumen (español)  :

Comments :

Argument (français) :

La position gynécologique s’inscrit dans la normalisation de la médecine moderne et de l’accouchement aujourd’hui en France et elle est le produit d’un ordre social construit et contrôlé

Argument (English):

The gynecological position is part of the normalization of modern medicine and childbirth today in France and is the product of a built and controlled social order

Argumento (português):

A posição ginecológica é parte da normalização da medicina moderna e do parto hoje na França e é o produto de uma ordem social construída e controlada

Argumento (español):

Keywords :

➡ midwifery training ; history, sociology ; position during labor ; guidelines ; obstetric and gynecologic violence obstetric violence, obstetrical violence ; deontology ; informed consent ; midwife

Author of this record :

Bernard Bel — 10 Jun 2018
➡ latest update : Bernard Bel — 17 Nov 2018

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