“You Probably Won’t Notice Any Symptoms”: Blood Pressure in Pregnancy—Discourses of Contested Expertise in an Era of Self-Care and Responsibilization
Hinton L., Chisholm A., Jakubowski B., Greenfield S., Tucker KL., McManus RJ., Locock L.
Pregnancy is not a disease or illness, but requires clinical surveillance as life-threatening complications can develop. Preeclampsia, one such potentially serious complication, puts both mother and baby at risk. Self-monitoring blood pressure in the general population is well established, and its potential in pregnancy is currently being explored. In the context of self-monitoring, the information and guidance given to women regarding hypertension, and the literature they themselves seek out during pregnancy, are vital to perceptions of disease risk and subsequent responses to, and management of, any symptoms. Drawing on online, offline, official, and unofficial sources of information, discourses are examined to provide analysis of how self-responsibilization is reflected in contemporary information, advice, and guidance drawn from multiple sources. A paradox emerges between the paternalistic and lay discourses that seek to challenge and regain control. Findings are discussed in the context of Foucault’s governmentality and medical power.