Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 255–274

Embodied Knowledge and Making Sense of Prenatal Diagnosis

  • Abby Lippman

DOI: 10.1023/A:1022901131305

Cite this article as:
Lippman, A. Journal of Genetic Counseling (1999) 8: 255. doi:10.1023/A:1022901131305


Open-ended, qualitative interviews with women to whom amniocentesis was offered were analyzed to understand how women made sense of these tests. We found that women, whether tested or not, negotiated with biomedical information. They transformed it through identifiable processes, then wove it with their own instincts and beliefs and with their personal experiences, thereby creating “embodied” knowledge on which their decisions were based. Women who were and were not tested may have differed from each other when categorized on the basis of a final, binary choice, but they were more alike than unalike in reaching this point. The apparent importance of embodied knowledge suggests the critical role of the listening activities of the genetic counselor and of awareness of the validity and importance of women's complementary ways of knowing and doing in understanding the uses and meanings of prenatal genetic testing.

Amniocentesisdecision makingembodied knowledgegenetic counselinggenetic counselorsprenatal diagnosisqualitative research

Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abby Lippman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada