Pregnancy and abortion

Through our work on ‘parenting’ colleagues in CPCS have become increasingly interested in exploring the ways pregnancy (and the time pre-conception) is becoming subject to more or less formalised ‘rules’, regulating the behaviour of the parent-to-be.  While the moralization and policing of pregnancy is not new, we are interested in understanding more fully how the imperatives of contemporary parenting culture modify and develop pre-existing trends.

We labelled this process ‘extending ‘parenting’ backwards’ when organizing a two-day event ‘Pregnancy and pregnancy planning and the new parenting culture’ in 2010. Our most recent event in 2022 was Parenting before children? Pregnancy and the ‘preconception period’. You can watch the presentations on Youtube.

Our empirical explorations of this topic have considered alcohol and pregnancy, and welfare of the child assessments in assisted conception clinics. Some of us have been involved in recent years in research on abortion and we hope to be able to further develop analysis of this topic, and the wider concept ‘family planning’, taking parenting culture as the context. We would also be very interested in developing projects reviewing existing work on the ‘medicalisation’ of pregnancy, with the aim of developing this concept, and on how policy is integrating pregnancy into the project of ‘early intervention’.

In the Pregnancy research theme: