Childbirth in early america

Child marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, is a reality for both boys and girls, although girls are disproportionately the most affected. Child marriage is widespread and can lead to a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation. Worldwide, more than million women alive today were married as children. An estimated 12 million girls under 18 are married each year.

Childbirth in early america

Midwives in 19th Century America Childbirth in the American Colonies Childbirth in colonial America was a difficult and sometimes dangerous experience for a woman. Since the typical mother gave birth to between five and eight children, her lifetime chances of dying in childbirth ran as high as 1 in 8.

Death in childbirth was sufficiently common that many colonial women regarded Childbirth in early america with dread. American pioneer birth scene Gustave Joseph Witkowski, In addition to her anxieties about pregnancy, an expectant mother was filled with apprehensions about the death of her newborn child.

In the healthiest seventeenth century communities, one infant in ten died before the age of five. In less healthy environments, three children in ten died before their fifth birthday.

Childbirth in early america

While female relatives and neighbors clustered at her bedside to offer support and encouragement, most women were assisted in childbirth by a midwife. Most midwives were older women who relied on the practical experience they received in delivering many children.

Skilled midwives were highly valued. Communities tried to attract experienced midwives by offering a salary or a house rent-free. In addition to assisting in childbirth, midwives helped deliver the offspring of animals, attended the baptisms and burials of infants, and testified in court in cases of bastardy.

During labor, midwives administered no painkillers, except for alcohol. Only women midwives attended women during childbirth. In later years there were male midwives.

These women were skilled in assisting the woman by providing comfort measures, nourishment and nurturing, and by patiently waiting for nature to take its course without undue interference with the normal process of labor and birth.

Midwives were local women, usually with children of their own, who had learned midwifery as apprentices, as did many 19th century physicians. Observing and helping with deliveries honed their skills and exposed them to the variety of problems they would face when working on their own.

The Real Story of Twilight Sleep and How it Shaped Obstetrics and Hospital Birth

For their work, midwives might receive modest compensation, however, they might be paid with a chicken or household goods. Midwives had a clear and important role in the 19th century.

Childbirth in early america

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explored this in her Pulitzer Prize winning book: For 27 years, Ballard chronicled her midwifery career, during which she delivered babies. Midwives attended the majority of births throughout most of the 19th century, especially in the American South.

Plantations usually had a slave who acted as a midwife to both black and white mothers. As time went on the majority of midwives were black. The further north, the more white midwives there were serving both the upper and lower classes.

If she was a paid community employee she was given a house but could not refuse to help anyone who called upon her. It was not easy to be a midwife. Midwives dealt with births that could go horribly wrong and seldom progressed easily or rapidly.

Experienced midwives might administer ergot fungi or make the woman walk about to speed an intransigent birth along. Needless to say, complications, easily handled today, often spelled death for the mother, and possibly the infant. If the mother was unmarried, the midwife served as her confessor.

It was believed that at that moment of pain, the woman would most certainly be telling the truth. Many reluctant men were brought to the altar a few days later.

Anesthesia Inthe pain-relieving and anesthetic properties of ether and chloroform were discovered and used in America for childbirth for the first time. This began a new era in childbirth methods.A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series.

Twilight Sleep. The Real Story of Twilight Sleep and How it Shaped Obstetrics and Hospital Birth. SOURCES: What a Blessing She Had Chloroform: The Medical and Social Response to the Pain of Childbirth from to the Present - Donald Caton, M.D..

Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth - Mark Sloan, M.D. By , similar societies had been established in nearly all European countries, and birth control began to find acceptance in most Western European countries, except Catholic Ireland, Spain, and France.

As the birth control societies spread across Europe, so did birth control clinics. Childbirth, also known as labour and delivery, is the ending of a pregnancy by one or more babies leaving a woman's uterus by vaginal passage or Caesarean section. In , there were about million births globally. About 15 million were born before 37 weeks of gestation, while between 3 and 12% were born after 42 weeks.

In the developed world most deliveries occur in hospital, while in the. What is anesthesia? "Anesthesia" means loss of feeling, either by way of "going to sleep" (general anesthesia) or just numbing an area or region of the body (for example, epidural anesthesia). Of course, some babies arrive sooner than expected and complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure in the mother), can make early delivery the safest option.

The Historical Horror of Childbirth | Mental Floss