Usage de l'échographie prénatale pour le diagnostic des malformations fœtales à Rio de Janeiro au Brésil

Abstract : The world-wide diffusion of prenatal ultrasound has encountered local historical, cultural and political particularities. The purpose of this article is to study the varied uses of this technology in cases of detection of a foetal anomaly, in Rio de Janeiro, in a context of generalized access to ultrasound, restrictive legislation on abortion and major social inequalities. An ethnographic approach was chosen combining from 2009 to 2011, observations of prenatal consultations and interviews with specialist physicians and pregnantwomen, in both public and private sector institutions. Analysis of the data allowed us to identify three ideal-typical moments in the trajectory of the pregnant women when a foetal malformation was detected. The first moment occurs before the detection of the anomaly, when an initial ultrasound is carried out, essentially in private centres. The standardized actions of pregnancy monitoring are performed in the background while practitioners use the technology to support the local culture of praise to motherhood and the family. The second ideal-typicalmoment shows howdetection of an anomaly leads to fragmentation of the foetus at the public referral centre for foetal malformations. But far fromdepersonalizing the consultation, the formalism of the diagnostic procedure is considered by some professionals as a political lever toempower women from poor neighbourhoods as they acquire knowledge and comprehension of the situation despite their lack of decisional autonomy. During the third ideal-typical moment, professionals put the data produced by the image into the larger perspective of the logic of care: the focus is no longer on access to knowledge and autonomy, but on the joint collaboration of women and professionals towards solving the problems of everyday life. The combination of these three moments in time illustrates a process whereby the malformed foetus is humanised, dehumanised and re-humanised with respect to the technological tool.
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Véronique Mirlesse, Isabelle Ville. Usage de l'échographie prénatale pour le diagnostic des malformations fœtales à Rio de Janeiro au Brésil. Social science & medicine, Elsevier, 2013, 87, pp.168-175. ⟨10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.03.034⟩. ⟨halshs-00817716⟩

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