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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Inducing labour in the United Kingdom: A feminist critical discourse analysis of policy and guidance
Author(s): Yuill, Cassandra
Harkness, Mairi
Wallace, Chlorice
McCourt, Christine
Cheyne, Helen
Litosseliti, Lia
Keywords: Induction of labour
Health policy
Feminist epistemology
Critical discourse analysis
United Kingdom
Issue Date: Dec-2022
Date Deposited: 31-May-2022
Citation: Yuill C, Harkness M, Wallace C, McCourt C, Cheyne H & Litosseliti L (2022) Inducing labour in the United Kingdom: A feminist critical discourse analysis of policy and guidance. SSM - Qualitative Research in Health, 2, Art. No.: 100108.
Abstract: Induction of labour (IOL), the process of starting labour artificially, is one of the most commonly performed procedures in maternity care in the United Kingdom (UK), yet there is debate whether inducing labour at ‘term’, in the absence of specific medical indication, is beneficial and reduces risk of stillbirth. Moreover, rates of routine IOL are rapidly rising in the UK, despite uncertainty about the evidence base and parents reporting receiving a lack of balanced information about the process. As a contested area of maternity care, the language used to debate, describe and discuss IOL takes on added significance and requires in-depth examination and analysis. To address this, we conducted a feminist critical discourse analysis on policy and professional writing about IOL in the UK, focusing on how these both reflect and construct social practices of pregnancy and birth. Our analysis identified a double discourse about IOL, which we term ‘explicit-implicit discourse of care’, revealing the differences between what is expected to be said and what is really said. Though most texts displayed an explicit discourse of care, which espoused women-centred care and informed choice, they also conveyed an implicit discourse of care, primarily composed of three key dimensions: women as absent actors, disembodiment, and evidence as a primary actor. We argue that this explicit-implicit discourse functions to preserve healthcare professionals' control over maternity care and further alienate women from their own bodies while maintaining a discursive position of women-centred care and informed choice.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.ssmqr.2022.100108
Rights: This article is available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license and permits non-commercial use of the work as published, without adaptation or alteration provided the work is fully attributed. For commercial reuse, permission must be requested.
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