"Everything you need to know": how women's magazines structure prenatal diagnosis for women over 35.

Beaulieu, A. & Lippman, A., 1995, In : Women & Health. 23, 3, p. 59-74 16 p.

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The use of biomedical testing and genetic counselling is usually framed as something an individual woman chooses, with little consideration given to the context in which women make these choices. In order to understand something of the context in which women (35 and over) undergo prenatal diagnostic tests, we have surveyed the contents of 10 major women's magazines. We found that the stories told about the "older" pregnant woman and the risks attached to her pregnancy are highly selective. The dominant rhetoric used in these narratives suggests that women "need" to be informed of the facts of being pregnant when older (through reading magazine articles), that this need incurs a further need to find out the state of the fetus (through biomedical intervention), and that the pregnant woman can meet these needs by "choosing" prenatal diagnosis. These results illustrate how a "need" for prenatal testing gets created and suggest that to "choose" to be tested may be to partake of, not challenge, the mainstream biomedical assumptions about how the "older" pregnant woman will and should behave.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalWomen & Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


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