Puerperal infection also known as Childbed fever is a bacterial infection in a female’s reproductive system. Signs of the infection include a fever, abdominal pain, and chills. Get Me Out explains that in the early 1800’s this was a constant threat to woman in labor. It could go either way for pregnant women, surviving the illness or dying. As the book explains “there was no way to know who was going to catch the illness, who would survive, and who would go from delivery room to morgue.”(Pg.53).
Doctors would blame rotten breast milk, anxiety, and angry thoughts for the deaths due to this illness. But that was before bacteria was discovered “sometimes doctors went from autopsies to delivery, back and forth-death to birth, birth to death, chauffeuring germs with them.”(Pg.54). While the doctors went on trying to find the cause to the deaths, they didn’t know that they were making it worse by spreading the infection. As I explained before bacteria had not been discovered in that time period but the book explains that a few scientists were beginning to understand what was going on, “They did not know what was spreading but had a hunch something awful was passing from one sick mother to the next.”. Some of the scientists decided to actually try and prevent whatever was going on “Charles White made his students wash their hands to prevent puerperal fever.”(Pg.55).
Later on Dr.Ignac Semmelweis came along. He forced his colleagues to ‘scrub with chlorine’ to prevent the infection from passing on. The reason to why he felt the need to be very clean was because previously his mentor had died while examining the body of a woman that had died during childbirth, the book explains “Professor Jakob Kolletschka, died after cutting himself during an autopsy of a woman who died in childbirth.” then afterwards Semmelweis performed an autopsy on Professor Jakob Kolletschka and he saw that “Kolletschka’s corpse resembled the pus-filled bodies of dead maternity patients.”(Pg.56). During the time that Semmelweis made his colleagues have a cleaner environment the “maternal mortality plummeted from 20 percent to 1.3 percent” this goes to show how cleanliness makes up a big part of childbirth.
In conclusion, childbed fever is a bacterial infection that if not treated could be deadly to a mother in labor. The environment in which a mother gives birth in is very important, hygiene is as well by that I mean the tools that are taking place during certain procedures. A clean environment equals a healthy mother and child.
Hello Xochitl, I read your blog post it is very interesting and it has a lot of information about childbed fever. As I read your blog post its now clear for me how childbed fever started and how the doctors were the ones making it worst but it all added up to bacteria leading us to have a clean environment to end childbed fever. I agree with you that with a clean environment the healthier people are and less worries about ending up with a disease. Overall good job Xochitl! -Natalia V.
Thank you Natalia, I’m glad that you agreed with the opinions I shared towards what was going on with childbed fever. It must have been hard since they didn’t know what was the cause of the deaths especially since it wasn’t something that had been discovered yet. It’s good that in the end they eventually came to a conclusion and made hospitals much more sanitary for the mothers giving birth. -Xochitl D.
Hey Xochitl, I just read you blog post and I really liked it. I agree with you and Natalia that a clean environment and cleaner/healthier people we won’t have to worry about the disease. At first I did not know what childbed fever was but how you explained and gave plenty of examples I knew what childbed fever was at the end. Good Job Xochitl you did great!
Hey Xochitl, Great job on your blog post! I did not know much about childbed fever, but your blog post included a lot of information that made me learn more about it. I agree with all of you in the sense that a cleaner environment will result in less bacteria and healthier pregnancies. I really enjoyed reading! – Lilly