Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950 by Judith Walzer Leavitt

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By Judith Walzer Leavitt

According to own money owed via birthing girls and their scientific attendants, Brought to Bed finds how childbirth has replaced from colonial instances to the current. Judith Walzer Leavitt's learn specializes in the normal woman-centered home-birthing practices, their substitute through male medical professionals, and the flow from the house to the health center. She explains that childbearing ladies and their physicians progressively replaced start areas simply because they believed the elevated medicalization could make giving delivery more secure and more well-off. satirically, as a result of an infection, toddler and maternal mortality didn't instantly decline. She concludes that birthing ladies held enormous energy in identifying hard work and supply occasions so long as childbirth remained in the house. The circulation to the sanatorium within the 20th century gave the scientific occupation the higher hand. Leavitt additionally discusses contemporary occasions in American obstetrics that illustrate how girls have tried to retrieve a number of the conventional women--and family--centered features of childbirth.

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Extra resources for Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950

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Married women continued to bear first children as their grand- 28 Brought to Bed mothers had, but the total size of their families diminished. Their fears continued to be related to the experiences of their first pregnancies, when, young and vulnerable, they faced the possibility of their own death. Dr. Beatrice Tucker, Director of the Chicago Maternity Center, realized as late as 1948, "There are all kinds of women who come into a doctor's office to seek care during pregnancy. Some are educated and well-bred; some ignorant; some well adjusted; some phlegmatic, and some neurotic and high-strung.

They might instead have implicated tuberculosis or any number of other diseases. Attributing the death to tuberculosis masked a large percentage of deaths that were actually childbirth-related. Physicians knew that an active case of tuberculosis could be exacerbated by Childbirth and Women's Lives in America 25 pregnancy and especially by a difficult labor and delivery, but they attributed the death the woman suffered to the disease of tuberculosis rather than to the "disease" of childbirth. Their assumption that the women in fact died from tuberculosis may have been technically correct; but the result of their labeling hampers our ability to determine the actual risks parturient women faced.

And this is the end of all my hopes, my pleasing anticipations, my returning youthful joyousness. Well, it is a woman's lot and I must try to become resigned and bear it in patience and silence and not make my home unhappy because I am so. 55 Hannah Smith wrote in this short diary passage, which has strong religious overtones, how unhappy she was when she found herself pregnant, because pregnancy meant that she had to give up the parts of her life that she enjoyed—the youthful happiness and the hopeful days.

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