Exploring women’s self-reported health problems in pregnancy in the UK and Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Women usually conceptualize pregnancy as a normal physiological state. In contrast, formal maternity care provision tends to be focused on pathology and risk. The authors aim to explore the extent to which childbearing women apply a sickness lens to pregnancy. We have therefore examined antenatal problems spontaneously reported by 4,000 UK and Norwegian women who responded to the international social media-based Babies Born Better survey. We coded and classified the free-text comments of the respondents as either complaint or disease. We found striking differences in the rates and types of problems reported by the women. We discuss our findings by applying different perspectives of medicalization and of lay and biomedical knowledge.