Between Standards and Voluntariness

Midwives’ Alignment Work in Antenatal Care



Antenatal care in Sweden is voluntary but offered to all pregnant people. It is organised in accordance with an interprofessional standardised programme where midwives do pregnancy check-ups and inform about pregnancy, childbirth and becoming parents. But a standardised programme can be difficult to apply to the varying individuals’ wants and needs.

Through interviews with midwives and observation of parent education, the article attends to the tension that arises between standards and voluntariness in antenatal care and the often-invisible alignment work done by midwives to make knowledge accessible, applicable and appealing to parents-to-be. By adding a sensibility to emotion work as part of alignment work the article elucidates the relational aspects in what people do and also how emotions matter within the sociomaterial spaces, such as antenatal care. The article contributes to ongoing discussions about the movement of knowledge and how scientific knowledge is turned into practice.


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Special Issue: Alignment Work for the Movement of Knowledge


2023-01-02 — Updated on 2023-12-15


How to Cite

Gleisner, J. (2023) “Between Standards and Voluntariness: Midwives’ Alignment Work in Antenatal Care”, Science & Technology Studies, 36(4), pp. 26–42. doi: 10.23987/sts.112830.