Danielle Bessett, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati, called this phenomenon 'pregnancy mythologies' - fragmentary, contradictory, and elusive forms of knowledge.
The study relied on interviews with 64 pregnant women in the greater New York metropolitan area from 2003-2006. Bessett noted that all 64 women confronted mythologies in pregnancy.
She said that in contrast to survey research that asks women to identify information sources that help them make specific decisions, in-depth interviews such as mine reveal a more complex web of taken-for-granted assumptions that women bring to pregnancy - a condition commonly represented in both fictional and reality television, films, commercials, and other entertainment media.
Bessett explained that her research shows that they may underestimate the extent to which all of us hold understandings of pregnancy built incrementally through a succession of ephemeral encounters over our lifetimes and the extent to which those understandings affect us.
She It is important to recognize this phenomenon because it may result in different perspectives on what we can take for granted about pregnancy which may affect communication between women and their health care providers."
According to Bessett, some women drew heavily from ethnic-religious traditions. Some had little or no personal experience with pregnancy, while others had complicated reproductive histories. "Depending on these varied biographical and structural locations, women affirmed, grieved, critiqued, and contested key aspects of pregnancy mythology," Bessett said.
Bessett found that most women tended to minimize the influence of pregnancy mythologies when asked directly about information sources they trusted most. It was only when pushed to explain how they came to hold specific expectations for what would happen during their pregnancies that women referenced entertainment media sources.
Through her interviews, Bessett found that in some cases, women were alarmed when they weren't experiencing symptoms popularly associated with pregnancy, such as morning sickness, fearing that something might be wrong with the health of the fetus.
Bessett said that whether pleasurable, inconvenient or debilitating, pregnancy symptoms are not simply treated as pregnancy side-effects in our culture, but rather as a significant connection to the fetus and fetal subjectivity.
Bessett said that many symptoms were frequently seen as tangible manifestations of the foetus' desires, needs, or personal characteristics.
The findings from the study are based on interviews with 64 pregnant women in the greater New York metropolitan area from 2003-2006.
--ANI (Posted on 12-08-2013)