Journal article

Doing distance : expectant parents’ experiences of risk following a maternity ward closure


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Publication Details

Author list: Larsson, Emelie

Publication year: 2020

Start page: 16

End page: 29

Number of pages: 14

ISSN: 1037-1656


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This article explores expectant parents’ experiences of risk and distance following a maternity ward closure in Sweden’s northern inland. Interviews were conducted in 2017–2018 and the data were subjected to narrative analysis. Theoretically, the research adopts a feminist approach to space and risk, viewing both as simultaneously material and fluid, intersecting with categories such as gender, class, and centre-periphery. The longer distance to maternity care was found to engender other distances, such as social and political, which were associated with particular risks and power structures. In particular, interviewees referred to a perceived distance from staff at the new hospital that threatened to turn labour into an unsafe experience, and a perceived distance from political decision-making, prompting feelings of unworthiness and distrust. In different ways, navigating these risks reproduced gender roles, and the parents’ social position–including gender, marital status, economic, and social resources–shaped how they navigated the new situation.


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