Sanctioning Pregnancy: A Psychological Perspective on the Paradoxes and Culture of Research, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sanctioning Pregnancy

A Psychological Perspective on the Paradoxes and Culture of Research, 1st Edition

By Harriet Gross, Helen Pattison


192 pages

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Paperback: 9780415211604
pub: 2007-04-26
Hardback: 9780415211598
pub: 2007-05-03
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Pregnancy provides a very public, visual confirmation of femininity. It is a time of rapid physical and psychological adjustment for women and is surrounded by stereotyping, taboos and social expectations. This book seeks to examine these popular attitudes towards pregnancy and to consider how they influence women’s experiences of being pregnant.

Sanctioning Pregnancy offers a unique critique of sociocultural constructions of pregnancy and the ways in which it is represented in contemporary culture, and examines the common myths which exist about diet, exercise and work in pregnancy, alongside notions of risk and media portrayals of pregnant women. Topics covered include:

  • Do pregnant women change their diet and why?
  • Is memory really impaired in pregnancy?
  • How risky behaviour is defined from exercise to employment
  • The biomedical domination of pregnancy research.

Different theoretical standpoints are critically examined, including a medico-scientific model, feminist perspectives and bio-psychosocial and psychodynamic approaches.


"Sanctioning Pregnancy is readable, enjoyable, and eye-opening in its coverage of the stage of the art of pregnancy research. In addition, the content of this book is a valuable example of the process of critical evaluation of a body of literature. As such, it provides its readers with a work that is enlightening, not only by virtue of the content per se, but also for the comprehensive, open-minded, and unbiased method in which that content is presented. … [Sanctioning Pregnancy] would be useful in teaching the critical thinking process in a wide range of topical areas." – Lynda M. Federoff in Sex Roles

"The book's strength lies in its choice of topics: psychology itself is a broad discipline and its diversity is reflected here. Its accessible writing style and interdisciplinary nature means that it has relevance across a variety of disciplines and levels including sociology, psychology, gender studies and midwifery/healthcare." – Abigail Locke, Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Cognition and Cognitive Dysfunction. Working and Employment. Dietary Change and Eating. Exercise and Activity. Pregnancy and Risk. Pregnancy Under Surveillance. Concluding Remarks. References/Bibliography. Index.

About the Authors

Harriet Gross is a Lecturer in Psychology at Loughborough University. After working in the book trade, she took a degree in psychology and subsequently became an academic. She is a developmental psychologist, and researches and publishes in the area of the psychology of pregnancy and women’s health.

Helen Pattison is a Health Psychologist, and Associate Director of Research in the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University. She researches and publishes in the areas of reproductive health, parental health behaviour, self-management of health, risk perception and communication.

About the Series

Women and Psychology

This series brings together current theory and research on women and psychology. Drawing on scholarship from a number of different areas of psychology, it bridges the gap between abstract research and the reality of women's lives by integrating theory and practice, research and policy.

Each book addresses a 'cutting edge' issue of research, covering topics such as postnatal depression and eating disorders, and addressing a wide range of theories and methodologies.

The series provides accessible and concise accounts of key issues in the study of women and psychology, and clearly demonstrates the centrality of psychology debates within women's studies or feminism.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Human Sexuality