Welcome to my third blog post about the book Get Me Out A History of childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein part two through part four. Science played/s a huge role in figuring out how our bodies work and ways to better pregnancy such as figuring out that our hormones are controlled by the pituitary in the brain, or how there was a thing such a germs and bacteria that can get healthy people sick along with other realizations. With these realizations came cures or ways to prevent them all thanks to research. For example childbed fever, something that slowly killed the mother. No one understood why women in perfect conditions were dying. They didn’t realize that it was bacteria killing them, and when you don’t get something you make up tales.
“Rotten breast milk that leaked downward….others blamed constipation, anxiety, or wafts of cold air gushing into the open cervix”(53.)
That makes me wonder if we do that today, make conspiracies until someone figures it out. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis devoted himself to figure the outbreak of childbed fever.
Other doctors also tried to figure this out, so they studied deceased mothers that had childbed fever and then attend a mother giving birth, bad idea. He tied together what was known as contamination of something (no one knew about germs yet) so he told his colleagues to wash their hands when switching jobs because there was something they were sharing that made them ill. Doctors got offended because they were called murderers (they kinda were) but they did it anyway and what do you know, the rate dropped. Yet there were ignorants that believed that washing hands was unnecessary, the rate of childbed fever increased. Germs were something that “didn’t exist” little did they know that crazy Semmelweis was right since 1859 and they realized it years later after he died, a real tragedy. There were many doctors that would not accept the fact that they infected many mothers and killed them. Even with the knowledge of germs and contamination, many hospitals would have more than 4 women on a bed, this was completely unsanitary and if one died the rest of the women would have to wait hours, and even days to get the deceased out. There was spreading of germs and other bacteria to the healthy mothers. Later on, people finally got the point and hospitals started innovating, but so were women.
“For the first time…women were going out with men without chaperones, bobbing their hair, smoking cigarette, wearing makeup, and learning the tango”(79.)
In the early stages of the twentieth century, women were standing up, for their right to vote, to break stereotypes, to have a say in what drugs they wanted during pregnancy along with others. Although there were some women in the 1940’s that still believed in natural childbirth because it would make a happy, normal functioning baby, then again, there were many dangers to going back to the “olden days” I mean why risk being natural when you can have the security of being alive with your baby.
“Births were sterile, scientific, and organized. And that was perfectly fine”(125.)
I’m starting to think that delivering unnaturally and naturally will be harmful in one way or another. I think that there is a middle between both that we have not yet discovered that’s healthier than what we’re/are doing. We can’t always believe what we are told, we need to question and not follow the tragedies in the past, for example, DES, and Thalidomide, drugs used that were proven not to work, not effective, or would hurt the baby, and we’re still used because doctors believed it was the best.
“We became a consumer nation and believed that man-made topped nature”(132.)
We need to know what’s going into our bodies and not just think that just because a doctor says it its 100% true. I mean no one believed in germs yet here we are.