Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Sociology & Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Jane Brubaker


Within the past twenty years, a great deal of research has addressed pregnancy and childbirth in the United States. Often, however, prior studies have focused on white middle-class women and have neglected the experiences of women of color and low-income women. Teen mothers have also been marginalized in past research. With few exceptions, the limited research that does exist on African American teen mothers is usually framed around the "teen pregnancy crisis" in the U.S; seldom are teens included in studies dealing with the overall issue of medicalization. In an effort to understand the extent to which the medical model of childbirth shapes teens' understandings and experiences of prenatal care, this paper analyzes in-depth interviews with 40 pregnant or parenting African American adolescents attending a Teen Parenting Program. The analysis focuses on teens' accounts of their experiences with the patient provider relationship and their interpretations of and responses to the medicalization of pregnancy and birth contextualized in teens' encounters with medical providers during pregnancy. Overall, the adolescents accepted the medical model of pregnancy and childbirth. There were, however, acts of resistance and defiance of medical authority.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008