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.
That is very interesting Caro, pregnancy deaths have doubled in recent years in comparison to decades ago. Why? I think a very interesting thing is that back then we didn’t have a very accessible way to abortion and not many teenage pregnant girls, I wonder if these factors were taken into account in this data. I also wonder whether the data was of women dying at labor or during their 9-month pregnancy. I commented on Bella T’s blog post as well on the irony that men were writing the books concerning women’s well-being when they didn’t really know anything. I think society really influenced these times, in medicine especially in obstetrics because doctors were made to be conservative when concerning women. If society hadn’t put this societal moral like blockade on doctors then maybe these doctors wouldn’t be writing pseudo-science books and maybe obstetrics would be more advanced because doctors would be more knowledge. This leaves the question: Are there any ‘blockades’ right now in society? If so how are they impeding science from advancing? Are these blockades necessary? -Celeste O.
Thanks for the comment Celeste, I agree, there definitely had to be things that need to be put into consideration when looking at how rates have changed over the past years. But back then women in their 16-18 were starting to have children, even ending with 8 children or even more, nowadays women have 2-3 yet were worse than ever before. I think that were not advancing, I mean it can’t be healthy to be in such an intimidating environment with tools all over causing anxiety while being on drugs. I think that doctors have forgotten about the things that people in the olden days did to deliver making nowadays much harder. I think that the blockages in society is how doctors trust themselves so much that they don’t really think about what can happen if something goes wrong. Im sure that there is a perfect balance between the way people did things naturally and the medical side instead of it being 100% to each side. We just have not figured it out or again, believe so much in the method now that we refuse to change. -Carolina Vazquez