The Tentative Pregnancy: How Amniocentesis Changes the Experience of Motherhood

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 1993 - Health & Fitness - 281 pages
As more and more women are having children when they are over thirty, amniocentesis, is becoming a routine part of prenatal care. In this groundbreaking book, Barbara Katz Rothman shows how this simple procedure can alter the way we think about childbirth and parenthood, forcing us to confront agonizing dilemmas: What do you do if there is a "problem" with the fetus? What kind of support is available if you decide to bring up a handicapped child? How can you come to terms with the decision to terminate a wanted pregnancy? Drawing on the experience of over 120 women and a wealth of expert testimony, Rothman's important book is a must for anyone thinking of having a child.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Products of Conception
Prenatal Diagnosis in Context
Making Choices
The Tentative Pregnancy
On Fetal Sons and Daughters
Ambiguous Diagnoses
Grieving the Genetic Defect
Reconsidering the Issues
Selected Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1993)

A professor of sociology at Baruch College of the City University of New York, Barbara Katz Rothman specializes in the fields of reproductive health and childbirth. In particular, she seeks to describe the experience of motherhood within our contemporary, highly technologized, and fixed medical structure. Rothman's more recent books develop this theme while examining specific new procreative technologies and how these technologies act to alter the occasion of childbirth. Rothman is a strong critic of market-based assumptions that define babies as "products of conception." She argues that to treat fetuses simply as objects encased in a woman's uterus does not adequately describe the relationship between mother and child; it only leads to illogical arguments regarding reproductive policy and legal actions against pregnant women who do not follow doctors' orders. Furthermore, Rothman points out that parent's mistakes in childrearing are idiosyncratic, while those of professionals are more dangerous because they are systematic and based on such motivations as ideology, self-interest, or bureaucratic efficiency. Rothman received her B.A. from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (1969), and an M.A. (1972) and Ph.D. (1979) from New York University. Long associated with the City University of New York and also with the state university, Rothman favors a feminist-centered view of parental rights and responsibilities.

Bibliographic information