Brought to Bed

Brought to Bed : Childbearing in America, 1750-1950

3.97 (99 ratings by Goodreads)
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Based on personal accounts by birthing women and their medical attendants, Brought to Bed reveals how childbirth has changed from colonial times to the present. Judith Walzer Leavitt's study focuses on the traditional woman-centered home-birthing practices, their replacement by male doctors, and the movement from the home to the hospital. She explains that childbearing women and their physicians gradually changed birth places because they believed the increased medicalization would make giving birth safer and more comfortable. Ironically, because of infection, infant and maternal mortality did not immediately decline. She concludes that birthing women held considerable power in determining labor and delivery events as long as childbirth remained in the home. The move to the hospital in the twentieth century gave the medical profession the upper hand. Leavitt also discusses recent events in American obstetrics that illustrate how women have attempted to retrieve some of the traditional women-and family-centered aspects of childbirth.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 138 x 206 x 26mm | 421.84g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • illus.
  • 0195056906
  • 9780195056907
  • 1,377,795

Review quote

"This study is a major and most valuable addition to our understanding of the complex factors which have affected decision-making in obstetric care over the past two hundred years." -Medical History "Brought to Bed is pleasantly readable, heavily annotated, and well organized. One closes the book wondering where the last thirty years' extreme interventionism fits into the grand scheme and what the future holds for the pregnant woman and her physician, and their mutual struggle for control of the process of labor and delivery." -Journal of the History of Medicine "In this impressive history Judith Walzer Leavitt examines two centuries of childbirth experiences and analyzes how and why changes occurred....There can be no question... about the importance of this excellent study."-ISIS "An exceptional book that broadens our understanding of the significance of childbirth in the lives of women and deepens our knowledge of how women have been active agents of change."-American Historical Review "A masterful examination of the competing medical, social, and intellectual forces that shaped modern obstetric practice....A wonderful book that gives new direction to the history of women and health."-Reviews in American History "Like a good chocolate dessert, Brought to Bed is rich and filling."-Journal of Nurse-Midwifery "A significant achievement....Certain to become a model for the new medical history, and for feminist scholarship as well."-Medical Humanities Review "In this impressive history Judith Walzer Leavitt examines centuries of childbirth experiences and analyzes how and why changes occurred....There can be no question...about the importance of this excellent study."-Isis "A book for men as well as women....Clearly written and persuasively documented."-Carl N. Degler, The New Republic "An absorbing, richly-documented and well-argued explanation of how childbirth moved from the home to the hospital....[Its] broad conception, its balance, and its basic commitment to reconstituting the voices of women make it a classic in women's history writing."-The Women's Review of Books "A strong and sensitive contribution to understanding the (supine) position of today's childbearing woman."-Newsday "A superb book for anyone interested in birthing, obstetrics, or even just the history of women in the United States."-Journal of the American Medical Women's Association "In this groundbreaking study...Leavitt has given the history of childbirth back to women. An elegant, sensitive, and fascinating book!"-Regina Markell Morantz-Sanchez, University of California, Los Angeles "Certainly the most authoritative medical historical text on the subject in America at this time."-W. R. Penman, M.D. and D. I. Lansing, M.D., Obstetrics Society of Philadelphia
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About Judith Walzer Leavitt

About the Author:
Judith Walzer Leavitt is Professor of History of Medicine and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin. She is the author of The Healthiest City and editor of Women and Health in America and Sickness and Health in America.
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Rating details

99 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 23% (23)
4 55% (54)
3 19% (19)
2 3% (3)
1 0% (0)
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