Contesting "Silhouettes of a Pregnant Belly": Young Pregnant Women's Discursive Constructions of the Body

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In this article, we draw on a feminist poststructuralist perspective to explore how young pregnant women discursively construct the pregnant body in the context of the dominant obesity discourse and other prevailing bodily discourses. Open-ended interviews were conducted with 15 pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 28 coming from various socioeconomic and educational backgrounds in the Ottawa region. The poststructralist discourse analysis reveals that, overall, the participants are interpellated by the dominant obesity discourse and other bodily discourses surrounding beauty, femininity, and heterosexuality. Paradoxically, they also recite alternative discourses that resist dominant bodily discourses. The young pregnant women seem to constitute themselves as conflicted subjects simultaneously reproducing dominant and subversive discourses. This leads us to conclude with a discussion surrounding the need for more realistic and inclusive subject positions within pregnancy discourses.

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