’This book will benefit students, academics, health professionals and activists interested in issues surrounding new medical technologies, screening, risk management, pregnancy, disability, and the history and social politics of women’s bodies.’
Title: Imperfect Pregnancies: A History of Birth Defects & Prenatal Diagnosis
Author: Ilana Lowy
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Reviewer: Elaine Williams, Innovation Lead & Freedom To Speak Up Guardian, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
What was it like?
This book presents the reader with many issues to contend with. The author expertly navigates the reader through history and follows the rise of biomedical technologies that have made prenatal diagnosis possible, alongside an investigation of the institutional, sociocultural, economic, legal and political consequences of the widespread diffusion of these technologies.
What were the highlights?
Ilana Löwy describes how that the generalisation of prenatal diagnosis has radically changed the experience of pregnancy for tens of millions of women worldwide. The expert exploration of this topic was the highlight of the book, those interested in the history of healthcare and the ethical dilemmas new technological developments can present will be fascinated with this book.
Strengths & weaknesses:
Imperfect Pregnancies broadens what could be a complicated story; the author posits that there is no single standardised way to scrutinize the foetus, but there are a great number of historically conditioned and situated approaches, which are within our cultures.
Initially felt like this maybe a difficult text to read, however Löwy has written a compelling and engaging book that draws the reader into her expert understanding of this complex and potentially contentious topic.
Who should read it?
This book will benefit students, academics, health professionals and activists interested in issues surrounding new medical technologies, screening, risk management, pregnancy, disability, and the history and social politics of women’s bodies.