‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies

“Discourse and Health Research Group” 9th April 2018, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh

Sue Chowdhry (Ph.D Nursing Student) presents her research on ‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies


‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies In this presentation I discuss some of the findings from my PhD study investigating maternal healthcare in the context of maternal obesity discourse. In Western societies, medical and cultural representations of people labelled as ‘obese’ have been implicated in the Othering of larger people (Puhl & Heuer, 2009). Larger women’s pregnancies are labelled as ‘high-risk’ pregnancies, and consequently, involve higher levels of medicalisation than ‘low-risk’ pregnancies. Obstetricians therefore, play a significant role in the medical governance of larger women’s pregnancies; and yet, there is a gap in knowledge about how they construct this aspect of their work. The research findings I present are based on interviews with five Scottish obstetricians about their management of larger women’s pregnancies. The research data was analysed using a narrative structural approach to examine the ways obstetricians, obstetric practices, and larger women were framed in the stories obstetricians told about this aspect of their work. The findings provide a context for further discussion with which to examine the Othering of larger women in the context of maternal obesity policy: providing a focus on which to improve maternal healthcare experience, and a context for further examination of the medical management of larger women’s pregnancies in the context of neoliberal public health policy and anti-obesity discourse.

Workshops on “Corpus Linguistics and Content Analysis”

In May and June 2017, the School of Health and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh offers a series of workshops on the use of corpus linguistics and content analysis to explore language data. Such quantitative approaches to language analysis are carried out using software and can provide in-depth insight on language use and word patterns that would be too difficult and too time-consuming to identify using qualitative methods.

Dr Laura A. Cariola

Laura Cariola

Affiliation: University of Edinburgh

My research focuses on the intersection between language and clinical psychology, including both qualitative and quantitative research approaches a) to inform the development of policy guidelines and interventions to improve provision of healthcare, and b) to explore media presentations of mental health.

As a part of ongoing work that explores mental health in public and medical discourses, I have obtained a Research Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities where I am focussing upon ‘Presentations of complex mental illness in media and medical discourses: A corpus‐assisted study’. Collaborators include academics across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, such as clinical psychology, counselling and psychotherapy, anthropology, social work and medicine. My mentor is Prof. Matthias Schwannauer, Head of Clinical and Health Psychology at the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh.

I am also the co-founding editor (together with Dr. Andrew Wilson) of the journal ‘Language and Psychoanalysis’. The ‘Language and Mind Network’ which aims to bring together individuals with an interest in the intersection of language and psychology, including psychotherapy, clinical psychology and the humanities, and thus to encourage dialogue and collaboration.

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