Judith Walzer Leavitt's Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950 PDF

By Judith Walzer Leavitt

In response to own bills through birthing girls and their clinical attendants, Brought to Bed finds how childbirth has replaced from colonial instances to the current. Judith Walzer Leavitt's learn specializes in the normal woman-centered home-birthing practices, their alternative by way of male medical professionals, and the circulate from the house to the sanatorium. She explains that childbearing girls and their physicians steadily replaced beginning areas simply because they believed the elevated medicalization might make giving delivery more secure and more well-off. paradoxically, as a result of an infection, toddler and maternal mortality didn't instantly decline. She concludes that birthing ladies held substantial strength in selecting hard work and supply occasions so long as childbirth remained in the house. The movement to the clinic within the 20th century gave the clinical occupation the higher hand. Leavitt additionally discusses fresh occasions in American obstetrics that illustrate how ladies have tried to retrieve a number of the conventional women--and family--centered points of childbirth.

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Sample text

The extent to which society's fears reflected a reality of high death rates is almost impossible for historians to determine with any degree of confidence. The graphs that can be constructed from the available evidence illustrate that deaths from causes associated with maternity seem to have been declining toward the last part of the nineteenth century. But the statistics also show that the death rate leveled out toward the end of the century and continued at a high (and even increasing) level in the twentieth century.

Childbirth and Women's Lives in America 27 The world that so lately seemed so bright and lovely before me with happiness, is suddenly but a dark and dreary wilderness before me . . She was confined on the 28th of Nov. and after extreme suffering brought us a little girl . . a fever set in, with inflamation, known as child bed Fever . . She has suffered on until this morning at 10 minutes past 4 Oclock death came to her relief . . our dear little baby . . will never know a mothers love. These were not isolated incidents.

Physicians who attended parturients through the fearful hours of labor and delivery also brooded over mortality. Dr. James S. Bailey of Albany, New York, in the 1870s, pondered the Childbirth and Women's Lives in America 23 sometimes sudden and unexplained deaths of women following childbirth. He wrote, "To see a female, apparently in vigorous health until the period of accouchement, suddenly expire from some unforeseen accident, which is beyond the control of the attending physician, is well calculated to fill the mind with alarm and gloomy forebodings" and make it impossible "while attending a case of confinement, to banish the feeling of uncertainty and dread as to the result of cases which seemingly are terminating favorably,"20 Similarly, Dr.

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