Download Baby's First Picture: Ultrasound and the Politics of Fetal by Lisa M. Mitchell PDF

By Lisa M. Mitchell

Appearing via advancements in drugs, in risky debates over abortion rights, in renowned publications to being pregnant, and in ads for autos and long-distance mobilephone plans, the fetus has develop into an more and more normal a part of our social panorama in Canada. Lisa Mitchell offers a severe anthropological viewpoint at the fetal topic, quite because it emerges throughout the perform of ultrasound imaging.

'Seeing the baby,' is now a regimen and anticipated a part of being pregnant and prenatal care in Canada. Conventionally understood as a impartial and passive expertise, ultrasound seems to be a 'window' in which to watch fetal intercourse, age, dimension, actual normality, and behavior. despite the fact that, Mitchell argues, what's obvious via ultrasound is neither self-evident nor typical, yet traditionally and culturally contingent and topic to quite a lot of interpretation.

Drawing upon fieldwork over the last ten years, the writer comprises observations at ultrasound clinics, interviews with pregnant girls and their companions, and a dialogue on how ultrasound's echoes develop into significant as 'baby's first photograph' - a image of the fetus in utero.

Throughout, Mitchell probes our recognition of this know-how, our willingness to take fetal imaging without any consideration, and illuminates the hyperlinks among this technologically mediated 'fetal truth' and the politics of gender and replica in Canada.

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Extra info for Baby's First Picture: Ultrasound and the Politics of Fetal Subjects

Sample text

Unfortunately, there have been few studies investigating the potential harmful effects of human prenatal exposure to ultrasound, and most were not conducted until years after routine ultrasound was in place (Brent et al. 1991; Lyons et al. 1988; Newnham et al. 1993; Salvesen et al. 1992). Several adverse effects have been suggested, including learning disorders, low birth weight, and miscarriage. The issue of learning disorders was raised by an American followup study of 7- to 12-year-old children.

They needed expert advice' (Arnup 1994: 31). Faced with both the national statistics snowing high infant and maternal mortality and reports which found that maternal death rates were higher in hospitals than at home, physicians and reformers argued that hospitalization during delivery was not enough: women should also be in the care of physicians for the duration of their pregnancies (Mitchison 1991b; Oppenheimer 1990: 67). Medical wisdom shifted, and by 1924 the prenatal period became 'the most critical period in one's life' (Ontario government pamphlet entitled The Baby 1924: 3, cited in Arnup 1994: 63).

Although the statistics did not always support physicians' claims that hospitalization was safer than home births,1 by 1950 the majority of women in Quebec and other Canadian provinces were giving birth in hospital attended by physicians (Laurendeau 1987: 129; Mitchison 1991a, 1991b). 2 High rates of infant and maternal mortality threatened Canada's claims to be an 'advanced' nation and perhaps more importantly for the mainly Anglophone politicians and upper class - threatened its status as a 'civilized' member of the British Commonwealth (Buckley 1979: 134-5).

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