History of birth

  1. Hi all!
    I'm new here, and I'm a student. Next week, I start my maternal/chilbirth clinical, and I am very excited.

    Last week in class, we watched a video detailing the way that labor and delivery used to be handled. I'm just curious if anyone here remembers any "old" techniques, and how things have changed.. any stories would be enjoyed!

    By the way.. this is not for an assignment, or anything, I'm just curious!

    Sarah
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   live4today
    Welcome to Allnurses, Spstudent...AKA...Sarah!

    28 years ago when I was in labor with my second baby, I had to be given Pitocin. First, they tried it by mouth.......didn't work. So, next they gave it to me intraveniously. Well.....they do this today, right? The only difference between giving Pit today and giving it way back yonder via the IV method is that when I had mine, a doctor was required to sit by the patients bedside monitoring the progession of her contractions, and the effectiveness of the Pitocin where as today....nurses do this.

    From the start of my IV Pitocin until my second baby was born (it took four and a half hours from start to finish), the doctor never once left my side. He was the Chief of Ob/Gyn at Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital in Oceanside, CA where my baby girl was born. Boy.....did I feel special!
  4. by   fergus51
    Wasn't a nurse at the time, but when my aunts had their children episiotomies were done at every delivery in order to "protect the baby from trauma". There were also the routine shaves and enemas, women being forced to labor in one position, etc. Sheila Kitzinger is a little radical for my tastes, but her books about the history of birth are actually very interesting if your library has any.
  5. by   KRVRN
    I've heard of that "twilight sleep" that they put mom's in back in the 50's or 60's or so. Mom would sleep through the delivery and wouldn't remember anything. What do you guys know about that? How was the baby delivered if mom wasn't pushing? I've always wondered that.
  6. by   anitame
    Kristi, I wasn't around then for "twilight sleep" (thankfully) but my impression is it wasn't really a "sleep" Just drugs given that often made the patient "freak out" through her delivery but caused amnesia regarding that time period. I would love to hear from nurses who know more. There IS a nurse who works at my hospital that talks about being "put out" after her first few contractions (for a vaginal delivery). Her impression is that is was wonderful. Sounds horrible to me.
  7. by   kimtab
    My Mom had the Twilight Sleep when she had me. I looked it up out of curiousity and I can'r remember the name of the drug but it didn't knock you out, it was a powerful amnesiac. So Mom's were awake and could push, but would have no recollection of the pain (or anything else) afterward.

    Kim
  8. by   JenniferNRN
    Originally posted by cheerfuldoer
    He was the Chief of Ob/Gyn at Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital in Oceanside, CA where my baby girl was born.

    That's where my first son was born in 1996! I thought it was interesting that we had that in common. Things were MUCH different for my induction than for yours! :chuckle:
  9. by   sleepy247
    I have a friend who has been doing l and d for about 25 years and remembers alcohol drips for preterm labor! Can you imagine? We also have a doctor at our hospital who still orders IM Mag Sulfate....OUCH!!!
  10. by   mother/babyRN
    Historically, the reason women are asked to lie back and push vs sitting up and doing it naturally, is that in midevil times, it was more convenient for the doctor ( recall a male dominated society), to have her in that position so he could deliver her. Also, King Henry the 8th enjoyed watching his women give birth, and that was a convenient place for him to sit and watch...As for the twilight sleep, I recall older nurses mentioning that the patients had no memory either of their behavior or birth. The body will push by itself. These patients had to be tied down some of the time...And, my mom recalls simply being left in a room laboring all alone until she felt pushy, with no support either from nursing or her family, because thats the way it used to be done...
  11. by   moonchild20002000
    I remember alcohol drips to stop preterm labor.

    I also remember the" twilight sleep"he mothers were given a drug called scopolamine.It was an amnesic drug.We usually give Demerol,Phenergan and scopolamine together,we gave half the dose IV the other half IM. The moms were not really asleep with the meds. We really had to monitor them closely,they would climb out of the bed and wander and do other things. I never really liked this method.For delivery most women were given general anesthesia frequently low forceps were used. We had a lot of respiratory depression and sleepy babies. The moms would only remember bits and pieces of the labor.I was very happy when most moms went to the Lamaze method.

    Another old thing we used to do was something called a Penthrane mask. It was an anesthetic gas put into a small canister.There was a mask on the top. We attached this with a wrist strap to the patient. She would administer her own dose for pain relief.When she passed out the mask would fall away from her face!Scarey! We didn't use that very long.
    We also used to count the drops per minute on our pitocin drips! We did not have IVAC pumps in those days.We also only had one fetal monitor.I used to listen to fetal heart tones with a fetoscope. It was a metal thing that you wore on your head,the bell was like a stethscope. We timed contractions by placing our hands on the pts. fundus.
    Those were also the days that breech babies were delivered VAGINALLY! The nurse would assist the MD. He would place a small towel around the babys abdomen and the nurse would hold the ends to support the baby while the head was being delivered.
    I have seen a lot of changes in OB in the past 30 years,some good some not so good.
  12. by   moonchild20002000
    Sleepy,
    We used to give IM Mag Sulfate.
    Another thing that we used was IM Pitocin for induction of labor. The dose was given in minums!Thankfully we only had one doc that used that method. Buccal pitocin was also used. You would place one tablet inside the pts cheek,then 30minutes later give another and alternate cheeks.You would dose the pt every 30 minutes x6doses. The pills were hard to dissolve,everyone was NPO,no ice chips.The pts. were allowed to moisten their lips with a wet wash cloth.Some of the pts would suck water from the cloth,dissolving all that buccal pitocin and have one heck of a tetanic contraction!We would then try to wipe out the remaining pitocin put of their mouths!
    We also had to restock the department,clean and mop the delivery rooms,wash and wrap and sterilize all the delivery instruments.
    We hand wrote all of our requistions,no computers in those days.
    Sorry to go on and on,its kind of fun to recall all those memories!
    I started doing OB in 1973.
  13. by   mother/babyRN
    Wow! We STILL have to clean after deliveries...
  14. by   canoehead
    Us too. And we have a doc that does breech births vaginally.

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