History of pregnancy and childbirth

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history of pregnancy and childbirth

Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein

Making and having babies—what it takes to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and deliver—has mystified women and men for the whole of human history. The birth gurus of ancient times told newlyweds that simultaneous orgasms were necessary for conception and that during pregnancy a woman should drink red wine but not too much and have sex but not too frequently. Over the last one hundred years, depending on the latest prevailing advice, women have taken morphine, practiced Lamaze, relied on ultrasound images, sampled fertility drugs, and shopped at sperm banks.


In Get Me Out, the insatiably curious Randi Hutter Epstein journeys through history, fads, and fables, and to the fringe of science, where audacious researchers have gone to extreme measures to get healthy babies out of mothers. Here is an entertaining must-read—and an enlightening celebration of human life.
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Labor and Delivery - Childbirth - Nucleus Health

European women, attended by midwives and female family members, gave birth in horseshoe-shaped chairs. Mids - Forceps are introduced to help deliver the baby safely during a stalled labor. Joseph DeLee.
Randi Hutter Epstein

They did what? 7 fascinating facts about birth through history

We are seriously soblessed, my friends. Can you imagine giving birth without pain medicine, antibiotics, NICUs, and doctors who know to wash their hands thoroughly before examining you? In the years since the advent of modern prenatal care, maternal death rates dropped 99 percent and childhood mortality dropped 90 percent , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC. Curious as to what changed? Let's look at how ladies used to give birth. Midwives were still used but were increasingly replaced by doctors, especially among wealthier families. Anesthesia existed, but wasn't commonly used for childbirth yet.

Even today, childbirth can be arduous, even dangerous — so how did mothers deal with the challenges in antiquity? Laurence Totelin introduces the midwives of the Roman empire and explores their techniques. Marcus Ulpius Amerimnus and Scribonia Attica, a husband and wife who lived in the second century AD, rest together in their funeral monument at Ostia, near Rome. According to an inscription on the walls of the tomb, Scribonia herself commissioned it for the eternal rest of her family and freed-people. Marcus was a surgeon, as we learn from a bas-relief on the tomb, where he is represented in the act of treating a leg wound, next to his — rather oversized — surgical instruments. Scribonia, as another of her names, Attica, indicates, had Greek origins, as did her mother Scribonia Callityche; their ancestors probably included slaves.

Pregnant women used to drink beer during labor! It was such a common practice that the beer had its own name: groaning beer. These were called groaning cakes, and in general, the women in labor were expected to cater to their guests, not to be catered to. These women were expected to make and serve these cakes — even as they were trying to push a baby out — to ease the pain of labor. Friends of women in labor were called gossips, aka "God's sibs siblings.

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Childbirth itself has not changed at all! Babies are still born today in the same way that that they have been born for generations.

Pregnancy and birth are as ordinary and extraordinary as breathing, thinking or loving. Pregnant women face many choices that will affect the pregnancy, birth experience and life as a new mother. Where do you wish to give birth? Who would you like to be with you when you are in labor? Most pregnant women are bombarded with advice from well-meaning friends and relatives — and even strangers.

When you stop and think about it the entire process of pregnancy and birth, and everything that comes with it, is pretty mind-boggling. I mean really—who grows in your what and comes out of where? The first urine-based pregnancy test was recorded in Ancient Egypt in B. A woman would urinate on barley and wheat seeds for a few days, and if they grew it meant she was pregnant. If barley grew, she was pregnant with a boy, and if wheat grew she was pregnant with a girl. The concept of hormones was discovered in the s, and in the s the pregnancy hormone HCG was detected.

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