The History of Childbirth

Childbirth is a natural thing that has been around since the first man and woman, so what’s all the fuss about? After all, women have been giving birth since, quite literally, forever.

Child birth has been recorded back to 98 AD. The first documentation of a birth was by Soranus, a Roman. Soranus had some skills in delivering babies, and wrote a book on obstetrics. This text book was used until the end of the 15th century. During the years 500-1500 AD, midwives were commonly used to deliver babies. This was believed to keep the mothers and babies out of the hospitals, and away from the many infections that plagued medical facilities.

Giving birth in the past meant being apart from the father during the process, as men were not allowed to be in the room. It was unheard of for a man to be anywhere near the woman during labor. The woman would, most likely, be in a tiny room with no electricity or running water. There would be no modern conveniences or drugs to comfort her during this painful experience. If she was lucky, the midwife actually made it to her side in time to help with the joyous event of bringing her baby into the world. After delivering the baby, the midwife would swaddle the new baby in a warm blanket and give the new mother a sponge bath, before handing the newborn over for feeding.

Many advancements in childbirth came from necessity. Forceps were invented in the 1600’s, due to the high rate of death from obstructed labor. The first documented Cesarean section was attempted in the late 1500’s, also to deal with obstructed labor. Many documented cases of Cesarean sections were performed from the 1600’s until the mid-1900’s, with dismal success rates of about 50%. Anesthesia and disinfecting have made this procedure much more successful.

Today’s expectant mother is lucky to have a multitude of modern conveniences during labor. Doctors are well trained, and there are effective drugs, clean hospitals, and medical interventions available for when difficulties arise. Fathers and other family member are allowed even encouraged to be in attendance for the miraculous event. Modern amenities are available to aid the mother with the newborn as well. For example, there is an amazing selection of diapers, strollers, highchairs, baby clothes, cribs, and blankets on the market today.

Blankets have been a mainstay for baby’s comfort, probably from the very first birth. Swaddling the newborn to ensure body warmth has been essential to the baby’s well-being from the moment of birth. Animal skins, animal hair, or plant leaves were, most likely, the type of things used before other materials for baby blankets were invented. Today, there are many types of baby blankets made from a variety of materials. Blankets can be made of the softest cotton, fleece, flannel, or even the old standby, fur. There are many cute baby girl and cute baby boy blankets available to choose from. Blankets run the gamut from basic, to personalized, to customized themes, and to family heirloom-style quilts. Blankets are one of the most purchased items for a newborn, keeping baby blanket sales soaring. The baby blanket is probably the one constant over all the centuries of childbirth.

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