Business Portraits - Jenn

Epidemiology Ad Nauseum: Risk, Reasoning, and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Jennifer Fraser

Award: 2021 Post-Doctoral Fellow

This project traces how epidemiological ideas about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) have evolved in Canada from the 1980s to the present day. It explores the institutions, practices, and forms of expertise that have shaped the creation of HG metrics and considers the impact that these statistical representations have had on women’s access to and experience of maternal health services. By exploring how ideas about the causes and consequences of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy intersect with the development of statistical technologies, the evolution of medical markets and drug safety regulations, the politics of patient activism, and shifting notions of motherhood and parental responsibility, this project highlights the highly contingent nature of HG risk and draws attention to the specific science-society configurations that have impacted how women’s symptoms have been both understood and managed by Canadian healthcare professionals over time.