The Thing About Childbed Fever-Sierra G.

I eventually progressed to reading part 2 of Get Me Out by Randi Hutter Epstein. It was a short section, but it was very informative. At times it was hard to follow, but I eventually got the gist of what part 2 of this book was about. The majority of this section was about women suffering from childbed fever and how doctors, medical physicians, and midwives were trying to figure out what caused childbed fever and how could you treat it. Childbed fever was very serious years ago. Many mothers were dying because of this during the birth of their child or children.

Childbed fever was not the leading killer of women in the 19th century, but it did kill a lot of women. First I shall explain what “childbed fever” actually is. Childbed fever is pains going from the belly upward. “Autopsies revealed thick fetid pus suffocating the ovaries, uterus, abdomen” (pg.53). These women with childbed fever would be completely fine the day they gave birth to their child and maybe the day after, but eventually would start feeling sick and would start to show symptoms of childbed fever. Doctors blamed midwives for childbed fever and midwives blamed doctors for childbed fever.

Now, we don’t even have to think twice about washing our hands, but back in the 19th century nobody really knew or cared about germs. Nobody knew that these things called germs spread from hand to hand to person to person if you did not wash your hands after doing simple tasks like using the restroom or difficult tasks like performing a surgery on a patient. Ignaz Semmelweis then discovered the antiseptic technique wich was washing and scrubbing your hands when going to work on different patients. “The turn of the twentieth century proved that germs caused the disease; that doctors passed the infectins to patients” (pg.58-59).

Ignaz Semmelweis

So far, I am really enjoying reading this book. It is really making me see how much the medical field has progressed sense the 19th century. It is kind of hard to think of a time when washing your hands wasn’t a necessity when in the medical field, but as I am reading this book, I am realizing that doctors, medical physicians, and midwives were learning as they went on. It was almost like a trial and error era during the 19th century. I believe it still is like that right now. I am looking forward to reading part 3 to see what other milestones occured in the medical field back then.


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