Is the Embodied Pregnancy Still Relevant? Uncertainty, Embodiment and Technology in 21st-century Pregnancy




Imperatore, Catherine

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Mothering begins at conception and is considered essential to womanhood, while the physical challenges and joys of pregnancy are perceived as natural and inevitable. How well this fits with a woman's lived experience of conception and pregnancy changes her relationship to uncertainty and risk, technical and embodied expertise, and reflexivity and resistance during pregnancy. Despite the focus in sociological research on technology that separates the fetus from the mother, I found from my research strong contraindications against a totalizing disembodiment and a continuing attention paid to older uncertainties that have characterized pregnancy historically. Embodiment and technology exist alongside each other in modern pregnancy, and mutually reinforce the expectation of maternal-fetal bonding and the need for responsibly managing uncertainty. Pregnancy as a lived physical state continues to be central to the notion of mothering and womanhood.



Risk, Pregnant, Embodiment, Uncertainty, Gender, Technology