There are many records of various doctors who attempted cesarean sections during the 1700’s to early 1900’s. There was really a 50/50 chance of survival for both the mother and the baby.
18th century, most people assumed that midwives had no formal training, even though some did, and common existing beliefs held that women were emotionally and intellectually incapable of learning and applying the new obstetric methods. Well-to-do families soon came to believe that physicians could provide better care than female midwives could and thus offered the best hope for a successful birth.
Mary Wollstonecraft met her end at the hands of a medical mystery that killed scores of 18th century mothers. Why?
Wollstonecraft’s death, following the birth of her daughter, the future Mary Shelley, was typical of the times in which she lived: “A part of her placenta needed to be pulled out by a doctor’s hand. She developed puerperal sepsis, an infection of the genital tract, which very painfully, and over the period of about a week, killed her.” These were the days of rampant puerperal, or childbed, fever, spread by doctors and midwives and a mystery to everyone.
“In the first half of the nineteenth century about five European women in a thousand died from childbirth. Death rates in maternity hospitals were often ten times that; the hospitals stayed open because doctors had an incurable faith in good intentions, and patients a poor grasp of mortality statistics. The physician and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes led the American campaign to stop the spread of the disease by getting doctors to wash their hands. Obstetricians felt slighted. ‘Doctors are gentlemen,’ said Charles Meigs of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, arguing that no such care was needed, ‘and gentlemen’s hands are clean.’
Ignaz Semmelweiss. As a 28-year-old assistant physician in the maternity unit of the Vienna General Hospital during the 1840s, Semmelweiss was given the responsibility of obstetrically examining ward patients, supervising difficult deliveries, and organizing teaching rounds both in the morgue and in the first section of the clinical ward, the section in which most deliveries were done by medical students. Semmelweiss immediately realized that the rate of puerperal (childbed) fever was much higher in his first section than in the second section of the maternity ward, where most of the deliveries were done by nurse-midwives. He also observed that the clinical symptoms of puerperal fever were identical to those of a hospital pathologist who died after pricking his finger with a dirty autopsy instrument.
Semmelweiss thus concluded that the disease was caused by “cadaverous particles” and other decaying organic matter transmitted to the patients in the first section by medical students who arrived on the maternity wards fresh from their dissection work in the morgue. He initiated the procedure of washing with a solution containing chlorine between all clinical activities, and the rate of puerperal fever appeared to decrease dramatically.
Unfortunately, Semmelweiss’s call for medical practice reforms became ensnared in the political upheavals that wracked Vienna and the hospital faculty in the late 1840s, and his work was rejected by many senior clinicians. Semmelweiss became increasingly more isolated in medical circles and answered his critics with a series of strident denunciations of the European medical establishment. With the permission of his family, he was involuntarily committed to an insane asylum and died (probably of untended wounds inflicted during a struggle) on 13 August 1865.
Considering that it wasn’t really until the 1840’s that doctors realized they had to scrub and wash their hands between patients, it’s not surprising that so many babies and mothers died! In fact, it was common during those times for doctors to attend autopsies of recently deceased people who had died from very contagious diseases and then to attend a birth without washing their hands!
1800s more than 25,000 US women dying from childbirth-related problems each year – “walking under the shadow of maternity”, childbirth as “getting through your trial.” Death from maternity-related causes 65 times greater than in 1980s. Risk in each pregnancy about one in 150; figuring that women delivered five live babies during childbearing years, then one in every thirty women expected to die in childbirth.- “prevention of conception” “limitation of offspring” “preventives” “regulating reproduction” “limitation of the family” “regulators” “checks” “controlling the female system”.
– homemade or commercial douches – “female syringes,” “irrigators,” “injctions” “sanitative washes,” “purifying powders” “prevention powders” “defertilizing solution” “infecundating powders” and “anti-conception compounds.”;
– 1884 Kansas City Medical Record, “So common has the art become that we are safe in saying a respectable minority of the society ladies, while providing for their wedding, also provide themselves with a perfectly adjusted syringe, which is at once kept within reach.”
– 1832 book The Fruits of Philosophy by liberal doctor Charles Knowlton;
– condoms, [“baudruche”, “French rubber goods,”. “French male safes” “The French secret” “cundrums” “caps” “skins” “apex envelopes” “gentlemen’s protectors”]
– diaphragms [“womb veils,” “female preventatives,’ “female protectors,” “Victoria’s protectors” the “French pessary” or “FP”]
– sponges [“Mediterranean toilet sponges”.]
– coitus interrruptus as cause of mental illness or even cancer
– fear that physical devices (condoms, diaphragms, sponges) cause physical injury, nervous tension, or leave women sterile.
– unnatural for women not to have children,
– contraception encouraging promiscuity
“menstrual regulation,” “ladies’ relief,”, “curing irregularities” and “ridding oneself of an obstruction.”During 1800s, birth rate for white women fell almost by half, average number born to a white woman surviving to menopause dropped from 7.04 children in 1800 to 3.56 in 1900
wow what a change to what we can have on the NHS in the uk today we have come a long way since then a vast decrease in child mortality rates.Thanks to improvements. VISIT THE CHEEKYCHUMS PREMATURE BABY CLOTHES SUPERSTORE FOR ALL YOU NEED TO DRESS BABY IN THE TINEST OF SIZES AT HTTP://CHEEKYCHUMSONLINE.CO.UK