Armstrong, E.; Kukla, R.; Kuppermann, Assessment

Total Length: 3055 words ( 10 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 24

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Certain ethnicities were seen to have relatively high levels of participation, while women from North Africa and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were much more likely to refrain from taking part in such prenatal diagnostics than were Dutch women. This study could go a long way towards bridging cultural divides when it comes to healthcare, though the authors do not delve deep enough into making recommendations in this regard.

Harper, C.; Henderson, J.; Schalet, A. & Becker, D. (2010). "Abstinence and Teenagers: Prevention Counseling Practices of Health Care Providers Serving High-Risk Patients in the United States." Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 42(2), pp. 125.

The effects and types of counseling delivered to teenage girls identified as a "high risk" by clinicians was observed in this study, with the conclusion that few clinicians view abstinence-only recommendations as effective at reducing risk for pregnancy and other concerns. Presenting information regarding contraceptives, condoms, and simple relationship advice were all seen as effective additions to extolling the benefits of abstinence in adolescence. This study did not really seem to come to any new or profound findings, but really just reiterated what has long been considered common sense and public policy. I suppose there is still some use to the empirical justification of refraining from abstinence-only counseling, but this study could have delved deeper, it seems.

Kendall, T. Pelcastre, B. (2010). "HIV Vulnerability and Condom Use Among Migrant Women Factory Workers in Puebla, Mexico." Health Care For Women International 31(6), pp. 515.

Citing evidence that international migration has been associated with increased risk for HIV infection in women especially, these researchers looked at domestic migration within Mexico for the same dangers. Migrant female factory workers were found to be at a dramatically increased risk for HIV infection, largely due to sexual stigmas that label them as already "bad," and due to extreme resistance on the part of their male partners. The authors do not provide enough detail as to how they arrived at their conclusions to make them entirely reliable, however, raising definite concern but failing to explain the true underlying cause.

Kodzi, I.; Casterline, J. & Aglobitse, P. (2010). "The Time Dynamics of Individual Fertility Preferences Among Rural Ghanaian Women." Studies in family planning 41(1), pp. 45.

In this study, women from six different communities in southern Ghana were interviewed repeatedly over a five-year period as to their fertility preference, i.e. their desire to continue bearing and raising more children. The study found that reaching ideal family size created a virtually intractable desire to stop having children, even when unwanted pregnancies occurred. While highlighting the changing life circumstances that can alter one's perception and sense of purpose, this article does little to provide new insights into why fertility is desired -- achieving the ideal family size seems a rather obvious predictor of fertility desires.

Lowe, P. & Lee, E. (2010). "Advocating alcohol abstinence to pregnant women: Some observations about British policy." Health, risk & society 12(4), pp. 301.

The authors are only tangentially concerned with the effects of alcohol on pregnancy in this paper, and are more concerned with the manner in which advisories -- especially those that are not based on truly well-founded or new research -- can create different perceptions about risk and thus taint future advisories. Specifically, the release of an advisory stressing pregnant women to abstain form alcohol without new evidence is cited as especially detrimental. While it is somewhat shocking that the risks of drinking during pregnancy are not a cause for concern in many countries, it is also interesting to reflect on the social impact of warnings and the levels of evidence that ethically warrant or insist on warning vs. situations here a warning can actually cause greater harm.

Macvarish, J. (2010). "The effect of 'risk-thinking' on the contemporary construction of teenage motherhood." Health, risk & society 12(4), pp. 313.

This article deals with the issue of teen pregnancy in Britain. The author explores the fact that although teen pregnancy, as a whole, has become less common in recent years, views toward this issue have become more negative than in the past. The researcher further explores the idea that while sexual relations and reproduction outside of marriage is more widely accepted by the society, when it comes to sex and pregnancy among teens it suddenly becomes a social threat. I found this article intriguing because these two views on the same basic issue of reproduction are radically different and at odds with each other.
Magaraggia, S. (2010). "Teenage pregnancy: the making and unmaking of a problem (Health and society series)." Gender and Education 22(4), pp. 475.

This book review details many of the overriding theories and narratives regarding teenage pregnancy, assessing how both the personal stories and the larger social narratives that are woven around the issue of teenage pregnancy contribute to the problems associated with such pregnancies. The many issues involved in making teen pregnancy the cause of a "moral panic," according to the book's author, include denials of adolescent sexuality and pragmatic financial concerns. The complexity of the issue and of the book's scope is well-laid out by the author of this review, yet there is not enough direct assessment of the book's veracity and objectivity.

Mkhwanazi, N. (2010). "Understanding teenage pregnancy in a post-apartheid South African township." Sexuality 12(4), pp. 347.

After noting general trends in the rates and perceptions of teenage pregnancies in South Africa, these authors go on to present ethnographic data collected from a particular township that shows the risk factors for teen pregnancies. The data shows that economic disadvantage is a prime risk factor for teen pregnancies, and that a strong stigma against teen pregnancy actually assists, along with other identified factors, in providing fertile ground for increasing numbers of teen pregnancies. The seeming paradox of the social stigma and the actual outcome of teen pregnancy in the studied township is well-detailed and sufficiently explained by the authors in a clear and straightforward manner.

Morris, T. & McInerney, K. (2010). "Media Representations of Pregnancy and Childbirth: An Analysis of Reality Television Programs in the United States." Birth 37(2), pp. 134.

The sociological implications of reality-based television shows centering on pregnancy are discussed in this article, with some surprising (and not so surprising results). Heterosexual and married women were vastly over-represented in these shows, according to the authors' survey, and medical intervention was always shown as a necessity in the birthing process. The authors seem somewhat to determined and even paranoid in their view to be taken entirely seriously, even when the reader is In agreement with them on general principles regarding the medicalization of pregnancy.

Nguyen, H.; Martin, P.; Chinh, N. & Cong, D. (2010). "Guiding change: provider voices in youth pre-abortion counselling in urban Vietnam." Culture, health & sexuality 12(1), pp. 55.

Though not an empirical study, this qualitative overview of certain counseling services provided to pregnant teenagers and sometimes their families on abortion decisions and long-term outcomes provides an excellent window into a difficult decision-making process. Pre-abortion counseling appears to have a major benefit for individuals contemplating and/or receiving abortions, demonstrating the necessity of personal care in medical care. This article managed to be both highly informative and very touching; it is good to have a reminder that science is ultimately aimed at improving the quality of life for humanity, and the authors certainly retain this perspective well while also maintaining scientific objectivity.

Remennick, L. (2010). "Embodying Culture: Pregnancy in Japan and Israel." Sociology of health & illness 32(5), pp. 822.

The experiences of pregnancy in two different cultures are discussed in this brief article, and even though the author focused on "low-risk" or "normal" pregnancies a great deal of exciting and intriguing information was presented. Even while listing these differences, however, the author notes that pregnancy and the experience -- though never really remembered -- of being gestated is common to all human beings despite all technological advancement. The juxtaposition of the sociological and philosophical implications of this author's work are especially intriguing, and are affirmative of the practice of science in a decidedly human and humane way.

Schutte, J.; De Jonge, L.; Schuitmaker, N. & Santema, J. (2010). "Indirect maternal mortality increases in the Netherlands." Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica 89(6), pp. 762.

In a long-term and large population study, researchers found that maternal deaths for reasons only indirectly related to the pregnancy were on the rise in the Netherlands. More expectant mothers were observed to suffer from fatal cardiovascular and other problems. The fact that women are getting pregnant at older ages, both due to lifestyles that tend to postpone child rearing and through new fertility treatments, are thought to be responsible for this. It is interesting how such objectivity can and indeed must be retained when dealing with such a politically and personally sensitive issue.


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