The swan effect in midwifery talk and practice: a tension between normality and the language of risk

Scamell, M. (2011). The swan effect in midwifery talk and practice: a tension between normality and the language of risk. Sociology of Health and Illness, 33(7), pp. 987-1001. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2011.01366.x

[img]
Preview
Text - Accepted Version
Download (271kB) | Preview

Abstract

Midwifery activity in the labour room coalesces around routine surveillance practices. When engaging in such practice, midwives have to cope with attempting to instil a sense of confidence in the mother's embodied ability to give birth to her baby spontaneously while concurrently attending to an array of risk-focused tests and measurements. Midwives are vigilant about the potential harm that may come to mother and baby while at the same time they are responsible for facilitating a normal birth. This article sets out to explore the tension between these two tasks and shows how routine midwifery practice during labour can communicate certain understandings about birth. Using empirical evidence taken from an ethnographic study of midwifery talk and practice, attention is given to how midwives' activity during labour and birth implicitly introduces a sense of danger, an imagined risk that confines practice and operates to unsettle normality.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: risk, normality, health surveillance, birth, midwifery
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Midwifery
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/12743

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics