Residues and remains: an anthropology of practices around pregnancy endings


  • Dr Susie Kilshaw

    University College London

Project summary

My research explores the practices around pregnancy endings and their remains and asks what they reveal about the status of fetuses, women and mothers in contemporary England. 

I aim to uncover the diversity of reactions to pregnancy endings and study the rituals and acts around them to better understand what they mean to those who enact them. I will investigate the residues, remains and remnants that are left behind after a pregnancy ends. I will explore how they are perceived and handled in different contexts, such as clinics, homes, burial sites, crematorium, and by different people, such as women, their families, doctors, nurses and crematoria staff. I will conduct in-depth ethnography including interviews and more informal interactions involving intense involvement with women experiencing pregnancy endings and those around them. The main site for this research will be a new early pregnancy unit in the community.