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Taylor Livingston Public Talk
March 23, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
My Body Knows What to Do”: Social Support in a Prenatal Setting
This is not your standard prenatal visit: there are nametags, cookies, and group yoga. CenteringPregnancy (CP), a facilitative, non-hierarchal group prenatal healthcare program, which challenges the traditional provider-patient model of prenatal care and its central tenet that women and their pregnant bodies need medical professionals’ surveillance and intervention. Research has shown that participants of CP have better birth outcomes than women seeking traditional prenatal care, especially in reducing the rates of preterm and low birthweight. This is of particular importance as the US, particularly the US South, has the worst birth outcomes of any industrialized nation. However, why CP participants have better birth outcomes is unknown. Based on an ethnographic investigation in Durham, NC, I argue how breaking by down the traditional hierarchal divide of patient/provider, combined with a facilitative style rather than didactic, lecture style of health education, participants of CP are more likely to adopt practices associated with better birth outcomes, while the social support engendered by the group may act as a buffer to the intersectional stressors experienced by women in the South today.