Utilizing group oral histories from nineteen women who were pregnant and living in areas of social and economic deprivation in Glasgow, Scotland, between the late 1970s and early 2000s, this article analyses the difficulties the women faced in accessing information about pregnancy and welfare entitlements. It reveals a disconnect between women’s knowledge about reproduction and maternal health and welfare benefits and the political initiatives designed to improve antenatal care and pregnancy outcomes in Britain since the 1980 Short Report. This divide was widened by a broader Scottish culture of reticence around sex education and the ongoing moral influence of the churches. The article clarifies the class-blind English arguments within the patient consumer model that was promoted since the 1960s. It demonstrates how marginal groups were ill-equipped to participate as patient consumers, either individually or as a collective group. More broadly, this article gives voice to an underrepresented group and highlights how these women utilized adaptive decision-making to navigate their pregnancy journeys in a society with uneven maternity and welfare provision and inhibitions about sex education. By highlighting the realities of marginality and lived experiences, it adds nuance to conventional welfare and policy histories.
- antenatal care