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A little baby.
There is a lack of research on how pregnancy and childbirth impact the individual’s view of society.
Photo: Tuan Tran. Getty Images
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Gothenburg Research Program on Pregnancy and Politics (PregDem)

Research project
Active research
Website
PregDem
Project owner
Department of Political Science

Short description

Expecting a child and becoming a parent is one of the most important events of life. In spite of this, there is a lack of research on how pregnancy and childbirth having an impact in the individual’s view of society. The Gothenburg University Research Program on Pregnancy and Politics (PregDem) is a research collaboration between political scientists, midwives and obstetricians. The Pregnancy Panel is a part of PregDem. The aim with the research program is to create a profound understanding of how pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood affect the pregnant woman’s and her partner’s views of society.

Background

Becoming pregnant is one of the most important events of life. In spite of this, there is a lack of research on how  pregnancy and childbirth impact the individual’s view of society. This project is the first research project to systematically investigate how a pregnant woman’s and her partner’s views of society are impacted by pregnancy and childbirth.

There is quite a lot of research on how and why people change their views of society. But so far in the research, pregnancy and childbirth have not been regarded as processes that have political significance. In this project, we are interested in how the individual’s interest in social questions increases or decreases, and how perceptions of and opinions about society change during pregnancy and early parenthood.

An understanding of these processes is decisive for a society to be able to respond to its citizens in this situation in ways that are sensitive to their needs.

This project is also needed to increase knowledge about parents’ experiences of social support and to explain why women and men exhibit differences in how they engage with various social questions and what they think about them. Because pregnancy and childbirth affect a majority of people, and because they are often life-changing events, this project is needed to provide a comprehensive picture of how perceptions of society are created and altered, and how we should understand the differences between different women and men.

Aim

The aim of the Swedish Pregnancy Panel is to gather data to provide empirical knowledge and create comprehensive theories to the understudied field of the political-behavioral consequences of individuals caused by pregnancy and childbirth.

There are two overarching questions in this study:

1) To what extent and how is the pregnant woman’s view of society impacted by pregnancy and childbirth?

 2) How do effects of pregnancy and childbirth on societal views differ between different individuals?

Data collection

PregDem uses a variety of data sources. The two most important are the Pregnancy Panel at Sahlgrenska University Hospital SU/Östra and the Swedish Citizen Panel. For the Pregnancy Panel, almost 7000 pregnant women and partners were recruited in face-to-face recruitment at the ultrasound clinic’s waiting area at the largest hospital in the Gothenburg city area between September 16 2019 and 18 March 2020. Panel members were recruited in the early stages of pregnancy and members recieve three surveys during pregnancy, and three after childbirth (when the child is two months, 1 year and 2 years old). The respondents' opinion data is linked to medical data from pregnancy and childbirth. For study information to participants, see https://pregdem.se/

In the Swedish Citizen Panel (around 75,000 self-selected respondents, https://www.gu.se/en/som-institute/the-swedish-citizen-panel), we participate by asking respondents whether they or their partner is pregnant every six months. This means that we follow individuals already before they become pregnant.

Publications

Research group

Elin Naurin, Associate Professor in Political Science and Wallenberg Academy Fellow at the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg.

Dietlind Stolle, Professor in Political Science, Department of Political Science, McGill University.

Helen Elden, Senior Consultant in Midwifery at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Associate Professor in reproductive and perinatal health at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

Verena Sengpiel, specialist physician and Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the University of Gothenburg.

Karolina Lindén, midwife and PhD in Care Sciences, University of Gothenburg.

Elias Markstedt, doctoral student in Political Science, University of Gothenburg.

Ingrid Andreasson, program coordinator PregDem, University of Gothenburg.

Anton Wallin, Assistant Researcher, University of Gothenburg.

Birgitta Attebo, Assistant Researcher, University of Gothenburg.

Klara Martinsson, Assistant Researcher, University of Gothenburg.

Daniel Enström, Assistant Researcher, University of Gothenburg.

Ottilia Eriksson, Assistant Researcher, University of Gothenburg.