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(Re)Writing the body: a prosumption analysis of pregnancy

Beth Sundstrom (Department of Communication, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Article publication date: 5 July 2013




Theories of prosumption offer social marketers an opportunity to improve market segmentation strategies and health campaigns by improving understanding of audiences. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework to understand how women produce and consume ideologies of pregnancy.


A total of 19 pregnant women ages 24‐38 years completed qualitative, in‐depth interviews. Data analysis included a grounded theory approach and constant‐comparative method using open and axial coding to reduce the data and identify themes across the data.


This study addressed prosumption in three meaning‐making sites: the physiological basis of pregnancy; perceptions of medicine and the biomedical model during pregnancy; and perceptions of media surrounding pregnancy.

Research limitations/implications

This study applied prosumption theory in a new social context: pregnant women. Findings articulate the importance of gender and the necessity of incorporating women's lived experiences into theories of prosumption.

Practical implications

Social marketers benefit from improved understandings of pregnant women's body identity, perceptions, and opportunities for empowerment and agency in reproductive health. The proposed “purist pregnant woman” myth impacts effective strategies in social marketing and health communication campaigns. Findings suggest that pregnant women may serve as a receptive audience for a range of health issues.

Social implications

This study extends our understanding of prosumers, suggesting that prosumption of pregnancy reduces alienation, humanizes and demedicalizes health care and the birthing process.


This study offers theoretical and practical implications for social marketing and health communication campaigns to improve pregnancy health outcomes through an improved understanding of prosumers.



Sundstrom, B. (2013), "(Re)Writing the body: a prosumption analysis of pregnancy", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 127-143.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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