Birth in the context: Narratives of pregnancy in Rio de Janeiro

Claudia Barcellos Rezende About the author

Abstract:

In this article, I intend to discuss the centrality of birth as a personal project, which appears among some pregnancy support groups and public policies for the humanization of births. Based on interviews with middle class pregnant women in Rio de Janeiro, who expected their first child, I discuss how this material takes on the form of narratives with a beginning (the desire to have a child which lead to conception), its development (the actual experience of gestation) and an end (the anticipated birth). I examine the elements and social actors which are significant in these stories, bearing in mind that pregnancy is a cultural category that informs the physical and subjective experience of gestation. The material analysed suggests that pregnancy as a whole, including birth in the end, becomes a project carefully planned by the women researched, based on conflicting notions of femininity and motherhood.

Keywords:
Pregnancy; Birth; Middle classes

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