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Lifelong Significance of Disempowering Experiences in Prenatal and Maternity Care: Interviews With Elderly Swedish Women
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine.
2012 (English)In: Qualitative Health Research, ISSN 1049-7323, E-ISSN 1552-7557, Vol. 22, no 11, 1535-1546 p.Article in journal, Editorial material (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article I show how the effects of harsh and humiliating treatment, experienced by a number of Swedish women in antenatal care and childbirth in the mid-20th Century, endured for the rest of their lives. This treatment was carried out by medical staff in conformity with a view of expectant mothers as irresponsible and ignorant and with the prevalent idea of "natural birth." These effects were findings in an interview investigation that, with a colleague, I conducted into paid and unpaid work and health of 20 women, seen in a lifetime perspective. Our biomedical way of understanding risks and complications during pregnancy and birthing was confronted with many participants' feelings of distress, guilt, and grief linked to their childbearing experience. I interpret the treatments as "violations of dignity" and as abuse. The consequences are similar to those following traumatic birth experiences described in today's literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 22, no 11, 1535-1546 p.
Keyword [en]
childbirth, dignity, feminism, gender, health care, users' experiences, life history, pregnancy, risk, women's health
National Category
Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61154DOI: 10.1177/1049732312449212ISI: 000309235000009OAI: diva2:566820
Available from: 2012-11-09 Created: 2012-11-07 Last updated: 2013-09-16Bibliographically approved

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Forssen, Annika S. K.
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