‘Golden age’ versus ‘Bad Old Days’: A Discursive Examination of Advice-Giving in Antenatal Classes

Locke, Abigail and Horton-Salway, Mary (2010). ‘Golden age’ versus ‘Bad Old Days’: A Discursive Examination of Advice-Giving in Antenatal Classes. Journal of Health Psychology, 15(8) pp. 1214–1224.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105310364439

Abstract

Childbirth is seen as a medical event,and pregnancy, a time when parents-to-be are in need of advice. This article
provides a discursive analysis of how such advice is given in antenatal classes. Using audio-recorded data from National Childbirth Trust (NCT)antenatal classes, we analyse how class leaders talk to class members about
pregnancy, childbirth and infant care.We identify a pattern of advice giving in which class leaders construct
‘golden age’ or ‘bad old days’ stories variably to contrast the practices of the past (‘then’) with current practices
(‘now’). These contrasting repertoires operate against a backdrop of medicalization and societal expectations that are both current and out-dated, providing a constitutive
framework to support class leaders’ evaluations and advice on pregnancy,childbirth and infant care.

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