By Lisa M. Mitchell
Appearing via advancements in medication, in unstable debates over abortion rights, in well known publications to being pregnant, and in ads for automobiles and long-distance phone plans, the fetus has turn into an more and more ordinary a part of our social panorama in Canada. Lisa Mitchell offers a serious anthropological standpoint at the fetal topic, quite because it emerges throughout the perform of ultrasound imaging.
'Seeing the baby,' is now a regimen and anticipated a part of being pregnant and prenatal care in Canada. Conventionally understood as a impartial and passive expertise, ultrasound seems to be a 'window' in which to monitor fetal intercourse, age, measurement, actual normality, and behavior. although, Mitchell argues, what's noticeable via ultrasound is neither self-evident nor common, yet traditionally and culturally contingent and topic to a variety of interpretation.
Drawing upon fieldwork over the last ten years, the writer comprises observations at ultrasound clinics, interviews with pregnant girls and their companions, and a dialogue on how ultrasound's echoes turn into significant as 'baby's first photo' - a image of the fetus in utero.
Throughout, Mitchell probes our reputation of this know-how, our willingness to take fetal imaging without any consideration, and illuminates the hyperlinks among this technologically mediated 'fetal fact' and the politics of gender and replica in Canada.
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Additional info for Baby's First Picture: Ultrasound and the Politics of Fetal Subjects
1993: 278). By 1999, in its most recent set of guidelines, the SOCG's recommendation was as follows: 'After appropriate discussion about the potential benefits, limitations and safety of the examination, women should be offered an ultrasound centered at 18 to 19 weeks gestation' (1999: 2). The Ontology of Fetal Ultrasound Images 43 That document, 'Guidelines for Ultrasound as Part of Routine Prenatal Care/ underscores the contradiction between how ultrasound is being used and the evidence that it is useful.
The diagnostic information was produced through a series of measurements and images. The information recorded in measurements, and in photographic reproductions of the images, could then be compared to growth charts and to the viewer's knowledge of normal fetal appearance. In ambiguous cases, the ultrasound images could be compared directly with photographs or with other ultrasound images. 6 A phy- 38 Baby's First Picture sician could look at a photograph or radiographic film of the image and determine whether the fetus was normal without having been involved in the production of that image, or meeting the woman in whose body the fetus lay.
By the 1930s, X-rays were in general obstetrical use in North America and Great Britain as a means of confirming pregnancy, determining the cephalopelvic index (the ratio of fetal head size to maternal pelvic diameter) prior to labour, and searching for fetal skeletal anomalies (Hiddinga and Blume 1992; Oakley 1986a). The first concerns about the effects of irradiation on human health were published in the 1920s, but hospitals did not begin to limit obstetrical radiological exams until after 1956, when Alice Stewart published a study that clearly linked childhood cancer and exposure to X-rays in utero (Oakley 1986a).
Baby's First Picture: Ultrasound and the Politics of Fetal Subjects by Lisa M. Mitchell