Datafied Pregnancies: Health Information Technologies and Reproductive Governance in Turkey


Since the early 2000s, Turkey has been going through a dynamic period of health reforms where the global push toward health statistics has converged with the state’s pronatalist concerns over declining birth rates. Reproductive behaviors are now monitored via health information technologies such as centralized databases. The World Health Organization and the Turkish Ministry of Health celebrate these technologies as essential steps toward evidence‐based health care delivery. The everyday realities of these technologies, however, are more complicated, especially for nurses and their patients. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in state‐run health clinics in Istanbul, this article demonstrates how these data‐driven health technologies build on nurses’ gendered care labor and increase surveillance on urban poor and/or ethnoracially minoritized communities. In doing so, I argue that the datafication of reproduction operates as a particular mode of “reproductive governance” (Morgan and Roberts 2012) that reflects and reproduces existing social hierarchies and inequalities.