Today on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, host Terri Gross explores the history of childbirth with author Randi Hutter Epstein. She wrote a history of childbirth called “Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank.”

Sounds interesting. Here are a few snippets from the Fresh Air interview:

How about “Do it yourself” forceps? This is one of the many “innovations” Epstein covers.

Students would watch a doctor…sticking his hands under sheets and [see] a baby pulled out.

And that’s all they saw! Very hands-on. Sounds enlightened, doesn’t it?

On childbirth and pain, and the differing views of it over time:

‘Is pain a good thing or a bad thing? Things that were done to alleviate the pain were considered heresy’…
to, ‘We deserve not to remember anything about childbirth,’
but later feminists were saying, ‘We deserve to experience pregnancy. The real issue is doctor/patient relationships.’

Epstein says that our feelings about our care providers may have helped propel the movement in the 1970s away from drugs during childbirth.

Ack! Although I love hearing about childbirth in general and natural birth in particular, I think certain parts of this book may make me cross my legs. Doesn’t sway me though, I am still eager to read it.
No matter how your baby came into the world, this sounds like a fascinating read.

Check out the interview here. The book is available on Amazon, but not in paperback yet.

Photo: via NPR, taken by Nina Berman.

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