Document Detail

Negotiating normalization: the perils of producing pregnancy symptoms in prenatal care.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20494503     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In this paper, I argue that pregnant women confront a "double-bind" in complying with medical directives to report pregnancy symptoms: the combination of the routinization of prenatal care, understandings of fetal subjectivity, and the cultural discourse of maternal sacrifice create a situation in which women are at risk of failing as either as good patients, good mothers, or both. Longitudinal, in-depth interviews were conducted with 64 pregnant women in the New York metropolitan area. I found that health care providers make women's embodied experiences a priority of surveillance, connecting symptoms to fetal well-being and emphasizing timely reporting of these symptoms to medical authorities. I found that women generally accepted this connection between symptoms and fetus, but were often perplexed as to which symptoms they needed to communicate to their providers when time constraints on routine prenatal appointments limited women's ability to comply fully. Women also reported cultural pressures to "suffer nobly" the symptoms of pregnancy, no matter how uncomfortable. As a result, women found themselves with considerable responsibility for identifying problems in their pregnancies, with no clear way to adhere to the multiple and sometimes opposing mandates for managing symptoms they encountered.
Danielle Bessett
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2010-04-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  71     ISSN:  1873-5347     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  2010 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-14     Completed Date:  2010-07-27     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  370-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ibis Reproductive Health, 17 Dunster Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States.
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MeSH Terms
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Health Services Accessibility
Interviews as Topic
Longitudinal Studies
New York City
Office Visits
Physician-Patient Relations*
Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
Pregnant Women / psychology*
Prenatal Care*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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