Dr Aimee Middlemiss

Dr Aimee Middlemiss

Research Officer

Department of Sociology

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Key Expertise
Death, Reproduction, Personhood, Kinship, Bodies

About me

I am a Research Officer on Dr Claire Moon’s project Human Rights, Human Remains.

My Sociology PhD was an account of the reproductive politics of second trimester pregnancy loss in England, funded by the ESRC at the University of Exeter. This was a feminist ethnographic examination of women’s experiences of second trimester pre-viability loss involving labour and birth, including spontaneous losses and termination for foetal anomaly. I drew on multiple sources of knowledge including ethnographic interviews, participant observation at memorial events and sites, and analysis of legal texts and medical guidelines. I analysed this type of pregnancy loss as a distinct phenomenon produced by the interaction of biomedical and governance discourses and enacted on the bodies of pregnant women. The thesis was an account of the events and impact of second trimester pregnancy loss and their consequences for reproductive politics, including resistance by some women to the erasure of their gestational kin and person-making work.

My research interests in death, reproduction, personhood, kinship, and bodies have been developed through interdisciplinary training, including an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University, and more recently an MRes in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Exeter, funded by the ESRC.

My Master’s research was a qualitative interview study about pregnant women’s domestic use of foetal Doppler technology, in the context of political calls to ban the devices for home use, and NICE’s guidelines reducing midwife foetal heart auscultation. In it, I discussed the domestic use of the technology as an attempt to manage risk in precarious medicalised pregnancies in which women are established as responsible for foetal outcomes. At the same time, I found women re-script the technology when they use the domestic foetal Doppler to enhance their embodied experience of pregnancy. They also use it to create and manage intimate social relationships, including relationships between the foetal being and other kin, in acts of agency which challenge the medicalisation of pregnancy.

Along the way, I have worked as a news producer on BBC Radio Four, and as a Further Education Anthropology teacher in Cornwall.


Middlemiss, A. (2018) The Fetal Dopplers Bill is based on limited evidence about pregnant women’s use of the deviceLSE British Politics and Policy Blog.

Middlemiss, A. (2020) ‘It Felt like the Longest Time of my Life’: Using Foetal Dopplers at Home to Manage Anxiety about Miscarriage. In Kilshaw, S and Borg, K (Eds) Navigating miscarriage: Social, medical and conceptual perspectives (pp 160-183). Oxford, New York: Berghahn.

Middlemiss, A. (2021). Social death in the pandemic care home. In E. Borgstrom & S. Mallon (Eds.), Narratives of Covid: Loss, dying, death and grief during COVID-19 (pp. 54-59). The Open University. Free e-book at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Narratives-COVID-Dying-during-COVID-19-ebook/dp/B09GRG56TR

Middlemiss, A. L. (2021). Pregnancy remains, infant remains, or the corpse of a child? The incoherent governance of the dead foetal body in England. Mortality, 26(3), 299-315. https://doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2020.1787365. Published Open Access, Online First 2020.

Middlemiss, A. L. (2021, Online First). Too big, too young, too risky: How diagnosis of the foetal body determines trajectories of care for the pregnant woman in pre-viability second trimester pregnancy loss. Sociology of Health and Illness. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.1340. Published Open Access.


Policy Brief

Middlemiss, A. (2021). Improving the care of women in second trimester pregnancy loss in the NHS. Policy @Exeter https://buff.ly/3ntPIL2.