Welcome, to my second blog post about the intro to part one, part one focuses more about the guide books to childbirth and pregnancy. From the beginning of time, women talked to each other for advice, yet they read books about giving labor written by men who have never seen a thing of giving labor. Back then men were not allowed to be in the room to see the woman give birth, so how could they write the handbooks? They wrote the most absurd things for example not letting women look at the moon or the baby will become a sleepwalker and my personal favorite, how to cook up a gender.
“…red wine tainted with pulverized rabbit’s womb for him; red wine desiccated rabbit’s testicles for her.”(6.)
I mean this was an actual book that people read, men created many things that they probably knew would not work but women would believe and try anything because a man said it would work, gender roles everyone! Many books were about how to give labor, what type of women you should marry, what the woman’s supposed to act during pregnancy, what they should eat, and sex. A good bad example is the book The Rose Garden for Pregnant Women and Midwives
written again by a man about a subject he knew nothing of, childbirth and pregnancy. But it was a huge hit for 200 years, it’s crazy to think that something a person probably made up was a hit for years. Although we did start to improve our knowledge little by little. Around Civil War times, doctors began to study child birth and figuring out responses for problems such as a the famous Sims. He made medical experiments on slaves, probably not the best way to perform experiments, he tortured them trying to solve problems such as vaginal tears that caused many problems to women. He did contribute to many solutions but the way he did it was inhumane in my opinion. He used slaves because he thought they were less than since they were just property and could “handle more pain”. Even with all the pain he brought to those women, he did contribute to helping other women, over the years we have clearly come far when it comes to technology and knowledge about childbirth.
“…from placing a stethoscope on the belly to listen for the pitter patter of a heartbeat to using ultrasonography to snap a 3-D image of the fetal heart. Birth went from home to hospital, from drug-free to drugs on delivery, from midwives to doctors, from the occasional C-section to C-section on demand. On the most superficial level, the huge changes in the process reflect the rise of the urbanization, feminization, and technologicalization of America society”(xii.)
Even with all the innovations we have today, there is still a lot that we have not discovered to change the rate of deaths during birth. According to CDC in 1987 the rate of deaths during pregnancy was 7.2 per 100,000 women, this number has more than doubled.
How is it possible that even with all the advances we have made and the research we have done we are worse that we’ve ever been? Maybe the technology and the advances we have today are in reality worsening labor than improving it. The reality is that in the early days things were a lot more natural. Back then the only real medicine was herbs and many other natural substances, unlike today where women in a difficult labor will receive many combinations of pain relievers such as Epidural anesthesia. This is the most popular method to relieve the pain, it works, but there is also a lot of side effects and possible dangers to not only the mother but the baby. Even with the knowledge we have now, somehow we were better then than we are now.