Warwick University study says as women move long distances away from close family for work, many of them tend to be 'ignorant and ill-equipped' to cope with pregnancy and childbirth.
The university researchers say that many women do not have the support and advice they need when they have a baby because they live too far from close family.
AdvertisementAlso, the study indicates that modern practice of encouraging new mothers to give birth in hospital means women often have no experience of childbirth until they have their own children.
For the study, Dr Angela Davis, Leverhulme Research Fellow in the Center for the History of Medicine, interviewed more than 90 women to discuss experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and childcare.
"Geographical mobility means that women today more often live further away from family, which means they are less likely to have relatives on hand. Also most births take place in hospital so that very few women have been present at childbirth before they have their own child," she said.
In the first part of the study, researchers focused on motherhood from 1930 to 1970, and Davis said the results were surprising.
It was found that there had always been ignorance surrounding sex education and childbirth, but for very different reasons.
"The testimonies of the women interviewed for this research indicate how ignorant and ill-equipped many of them felt surrounding the issues of pregnancy, childbirth and infant care as late as the 1960s, and indeed this may still apply to women today," she said.
She added that issues surrounding sex and childbirth in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were considered taboo and not often discussed in the home.
And even women now seemed better informed about sex, there was still far too little information given to them about the development of pregnancy, childbirth and infant care.
In her opinion, many of the women she interviewed had tried to be more open with their own children about sex education.
However, she said: "They did show some level of ambivalence on the subject, and many were not sure that this increased knowledge was entirely a good thing.
There was also a distinction between education about pregnancy and childbirth which they were more positive about that sex education."
The study also revealed that many women felt unprepared to care for their child and that motherhood was not instinctive.
Although they admitted to have felt a natural instinct to care for their child, they had no idea how to go about it.