‘Pregnancy no bi disease’: Contextual beliefs in antenatal classes in selected Nigerian hospitals

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  • Ezekiel Opeyemi Olajimbiti

This paper examines how language is used to show shared beliefs between caregivers and pregnant women in antenatal classes in the Nigerian context, which hitherto suffers neglect. The data consist of tape recordings and observational notes taken during antenatal classes in selected hospitals in Lokoja, Nigeria. The study adopted a top-down analytic approach using Odebunmi’s model of contextual beliefs, supported by van Dijk’s epistemic context model, and Fetzer and Fischer’s lexical markers model. The analysis shows three categories of shared knowledge: a. state of pregnancy and postnatal care b. sexual relationships and spice lexemes c. traditional child care and superstitions. Shared knowledge of the state of pregnancy and postnatal care manifests in pregnancy misconceptions, nutrition during pregnancy and postnatal care orientations highlighted by lexical markers such as recoverable knowledge connector and joint attention builder. Shared knowledge of sexual relations and spice lexemes reflect sexual communication and native spices using metaphorization and proximal deictic lexical markers. Grandmothers’ involvement and insistence on using traditional methods and superstitions frame shared knowledge of traditional child care and superstitions through belief affirmative and self-reformulation markers. Analysis of the shared beliefs shows how caregivers represent pregnant women’s mental knowledge in interactions as well as how pregnant women interject beliefs for clarification and validity. This way, both participants demonstrate how contextual beliefs facilitate communicative processes and meaningful understanding in their interactions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiscourse Studies
Number of pages20
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

    Research areas

  • Antenatal classes, caregivers, contextual beliefs, discursive, lexical markers, metaphorization, Nigerian Pidgin, pregnant women, superstitions
  • English