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Ethnography of pregnancy in our culture Powell, Martha Bauder


The essay describes ethnographically some of the special experiences of married women during pregnancy. Data were collected among middle class women in Vancouver, British Columbia, by means of observation, interviews, and a questionnaire. . Material relates to 1) the social relationships of pregnant women to other people, 2) some of the social customs practiced during pregnancy, 3) the social readjustments which occur as a result of pregnancy, and 4) preconceived notions about pregnancy in our culture. The essay concludes that during pregnancy, certain kinds of communication with other persons (particularly kin, good friends, and medical personnel) provide a means by which women learn to orient themselves to the physical and social realities of pregnancy and motherhood. This communication entails the mutual exchange of knowledge and feelings, and the content and function of these exchanges are discussed

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