Surveying the mother: the rise of antenatal care in early twentieth-century Australia

Featherstone, Lisa (2004) Surveying the mother: the rise of antenatal care in early twentieth-century Australia. Limina, 10 16-31.

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Author Featherstone, Lisa
Title Surveying the mother: the rise of antenatal care in early twentieth-century Australia
Journal name Limina   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1833-3419
1324-4558
Publication date 2004-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 10
Start page 16
End page 31
Total pages 16
Place of publication Crawley, WA, Australia
Publisher University of Western Australia * Department of History
Language eng
Abstract The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw profound changes in social and medical attitudes towards maternity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rise of antenatal care, a system of monitoring the health and wellbeing of the unborn child through the surveillance of the pregnant woman. This paper will chart the emergence of such a system of surveillance in Australia around the time of the First World War, and will explore the complexities of debates over maternity, medicine and the needs of the state. In essence, the development of an antenatal regime was stimulated by fears over the declining population, and concerns over the high rate of maternal mortality during reproduction. The rise of antenatal care, however, is notable for more than being an extension of medical services to mothers. The interest in the foetus marks a significant shift in understandings about mothers and children. Based on the perceived need for population, the foetus was considered less a part of the mother, and more an independent potential person. At the same time, the development of an antenatal regime justified enormous intervention into the lives of women and mothers, extending medicalisation throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
Keyword Maternity
Social attitude
Medical attitude
Surveillance of the pregnant woman
Antenatal regime
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Article available at: http://www.archive.limina.arts.uwa.edu.au/__data/page/186581/6-Featherstone.pdf

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
 
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Created: Mon, 08 Aug 2016, 11:53:48 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry