By Judith Walzer Leavitt
In accordance with own bills via birthing girls and their clinical attendants, Brought to Bed finds how childbirth has replaced from colonial instances to the current. Judith Walzer Leavitt's examine specializes in the conventional woman-centered home-birthing practices, their substitute by way of male medical professionals, and the circulate from the house to the health center. She explains that childbearing ladies and their physicians steadily replaced start locations simply because they believed the elevated medicalization could make giving start more secure and more well-off. sarcastically, as a result of an infection, child and maternal mortality didn't instantly decline. She concludes that birthing girls held significant energy in identifying exertions and supply occasions so long as childbirth remained in the house. The movement to the medical institution within the 20th century gave the clinical occupation the higher hand. Leavitt additionally discusses fresh occasions in American obstetrics that illustrate how girls have tried to retrieve the various conventional women--and family--centered features of childbirth.
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Extra resources for Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950
Source: W. Beach, Improved System of Midwifery (New York: Baker and Scribner, 1848). intervene and perhaps extricate a dead fetus. 2 When Mrs. Ebenezer Parkman was brought to bed in 1738, she called her midwife and six other women to help. Seventeen women attended Mrs. Samuel Sewall during her lying-in period. Midwife Martha Ballard attended hundreds of women in childbirth and recorded in her diary the presence of numerous other neighbor women. The common pattern of American childbirth was that women attended other women in their confinements.
They determined the physical setting for their 38 Brought to Bed confinements, the people to attend them during labor and delivery, and the aids or comforts to be employed. Midwives traditionally played a noninterventionist, supportive role in the home birthing rooms. As much as possible they let nature take its course: they examined the cervix or encouraged women to walk around; they lubricated the perineal tissues to aid stretching; they delivered the child and tied the umbilical cord; and sometimes they manually expressed the placenta.
38 Most perineal lacerations were probably minor and harmless; but if severe ones were not adequately repaired, women might suffer from significant postpartum discomfort. Women complained most frequently of prolapsed uteri. This displacement of the womb downwards, sometimes even through the vaginal opening, usually resulted from childbirth-related perineal lacerations and relaxation of the ligaments. The practice of keeping women in bed for ten days to two weeks postpartum and the corset women donned soon after childbirth exacerbated this problem.