AfriREP

Reproductive Justice and the History of Prenatal Supplementation: Ethics, Birth Spacing, and the “Priority Infant” Model in The Gambia: Winner of the 2019 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship

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dc.contributor.author Reiches, Meredith
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-08T16:37:37Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-08T16:37:37Z
dc.date.issued 2019
dc.identifier.citation Meredith Reiches, "Reproductive Justice and the History of Prenatal Supplementation: Ethics, Birth Spacing, and the “Priority Infant” Model in The Gambia: Winner of the 2019 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 45, no. 1 (Autumn 2019): 3-26. en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://doi.org/10.1086/703493
dc.identifier.uri http://awdflibrary.org:8080/xmlui/handle/123456789/997
dc.description.abstract In the 1980s, British researchers gave pregnant and nursing women in a rural community in The Gambia supplemental food in order to increase the size and health of their infants. While the supplement led to modest gains in birth weight during the rainy season, it did not enhance breast milk volume or quality. It did, however, cause women to feel healthier and to conceive again more quickly than expected, with unforeseen consequences: the new, unsupplemented pregnancy posed significant health risks to mother, nursing infant, and fetus. Subsequent prenatal supplementation studies in The Gambia and elsewhere focused—and continue to focus—on potential benefits to infants to the exclusion of consequences for women. This essay, working with the framework of reproductive justice, contributes to transnational feminist science studies by showing how a well-intentioned intervention instrumentalizes the bodies of poor women and women of color, modeling them as passive yet suspect vessels for infant growth, comprehensible only in relation to the types of interventions made by public health organizations. Just as the population control movement coercively foreclosed possibilities for and devalued minority women’s reproduction, so prenatal supplementation, undertaken with an exclusive focus on the infant, impedes women’s abilities to make free and informed choices about childbearing. Reproductive justice enables an alternative vision in which women’s reproductive capacities need not compete with their personhood. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Chicago Press Journals en_US
dc.subject Gambia en_US
dc.subject Prenatal supplementation en_US
dc.subject Birth en_US
dc.subject Reproductive justice en_US
dc.title Reproductive Justice and the History of Prenatal Supplementation: Ethics, Birth Spacing, and the “Priority Infant” Model in The Gambia: Winner of the 2019 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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