The construction and experience of ‘risk’ in pregnancy and childbirth in Australia
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:47 authored by Jaclyn Cruz Coleman
This thesis, The Construction and Experience of ‘Risk’ in Pregnancy and Childbirth in Australia, examines the cross-cultural construction and experience of risk in pregnancy and childbirth in present day Australia. Pregnant and birthing women in Australia experience a pervasive sense of risk to their pregnancies and their babies in birthing. To explore this issue, I interviewed women from four different cultural groups, who were pregnant or who had given birth in Australia and I analysed their narratives of reproductive risk experience. I review pertinent themes that emerged in the interviews in relation to three key risk theorists: Douglas’s theories around risk, blame, pollution and taboo, Beck’s Risk Society and Foucault’s Governmentality. In further analysing women’s experiences through the lens of ‘risk’, I argue that the biomedical paradigm uses notions of risk to disempower women in their reproductive experience and that women who do not acquiesce to dominant society’s understanding of ‘risk’ are in peril of being “othered” or stigmatized.