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Al-Gailani, Salim; Davis, Angela (2014)
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Journal: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: History and Philosophy of Science, RG, Medicine(all), History, Introduction, RA

Classified by OpenAIRE into

mesheuropmc: education
Around 1900, few pregnant women in Western Europe or North America had any contact with a medical practitioner before going into labour. By the end the twentieth century, the hospitalisation of childbirth, the legalisation of abortion and a host of biomedical technologies from the Pill and IVF to obstetric ultrasound and prenatal diagnosis had dramatically extended the reach of science and medicine into human reproduction. This shift has a long and complex history which of course predates the introduction of twentieth-century innovations. Nevertheless, novel medical interventions such as ultrasound, many commentators assert, have transformed ‘the very experience of pregnancy’ (Petchesky, 1987). This special section originated in a workshop held in Cambridge in 2012. It stemmed from the observation that, despite a wealth of historical, sociological and anthropological writing on reproductive health and healthcare, we have a relatively insecure grasp of profound transformations in the science and management of pregnancy since the turn of the twentieth century. Existing historical research has been concerned primarily with the politics of childbirth and fertility control or framed within studies of the emergence of social policies focused on maternal and child welfare. By explicitly thematising continuity and change, the workshop aimed both to look beyond the most intensively studied topics and to contribute to ongoing reassessments of the ‘medicalisation’ of pregnancy as a historical process.
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