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Risky Business: Constructing the ‘choice’ to ‘delay’ motherhood in the British press

Budds, Kirsty, Locke, Abigail and Burr, Vivien (2013) Risky Business: Constructing the ‘choice’ to ‘delay’ motherhood in the British press. Feminist Media Studies, 13 (1). pp. 132-147. ISSN 1468-0777

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Over the last few decades the number of women becoming pregnant later on in life has markedly increased. Medical experts have raised concerns about the increase in the number of women having babies later, owing to evidence that suggests that advancing maternal age is associated with both a decline in fertility and an increase in health risks to both mother and baby (Nwandison & Bewley, 2006). In recognition of these risks, experts have warned that women should aim to complete their families between the ages of twenty and thirty-five (Bewley, Davis and Braude, 2005). As a consequence, women giving birth past the age of thirty-five have typically been positioned as ‘older mothers.’ In this paper we used a social constructionist thematic analysis in order to analyse how ‘older mothers’ are represented in newspaper articles in the British press. We examined how the topics of ‘choice’ and ‘risk’ are handled in discussions of delayed motherhood, and found that the media position women as wholly responsible for choosing the timing of pregnancy and, as a consequence, as accountable for the associated risks. Moreover, we noted the newspapers also constructed a ‘right’ time for women to become pregnant. As such, we discuss the implications for the ability of women to make real choices surrounding the timing of pregnancy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources
Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Applied Psychological Research
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Health and Social Care Research
School of Human and Health Sciences > Centre for Research in the Social Sciences
School of Human and Health Sciences > The Institute for Health Citizenship
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2011 13:54
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2013 09:59


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