Birth Pregnancy & Obstetrics Archives Page 2 of 6 - Hektoen International

Labor of love

Mary Oak Seattle, Washington, USA   “Newborn and Mama” Photo by Susan Strohm. Each week my elderly father and I watch babies being born. In the silver-shadowed flickers of a television, we sit as we often did in my childhood. Now in the spectral shade of his decelerated years, I care for him. He spends […]

Two hearts beating: the history and benefits of “Kangaroo Care”

Nursan Cinar Hamide Zengin Sakarya, Turkey   Mother and her baby during kangaroo care  Two Hearts Beat at the Same Time Photograph: Hamide Zengin The rate of preterm birth is between 5 and 18% worldwide. Prematurity is the most important cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity, especially in developing countries. According to the World Health […]

An unusual pregnancy: the gestation and delivery of the Nun of Watton

Barbara Hargreaves Durham, United Kingdom   Yates Thompson 13 f.156v Learn more Sometime around the year 1150, a four-year old girl was given to the Gilbertine community of nuns at Watton, England. There she grew up, took vows, and became a nun herself. It appears that she was ill-suited for the life of a religious sister, […]

Seventeenth century obstetric illustrations

Around the middle of seventeenth century man-midwifes or accoucheurs began to revolutionize the practice of obstetrics by reforming education, introducing scientific principles, and developing safe rules for the conduct of the delivery and the use of the forceps. Foremost among this new brand of practitioners were two Scotsmen, William Smellie and his one-time student William […]

Enough

Laura Loertscher Portland, Oregon, United States   Photograph of author (Laura Loertscher) and her son. Personal photograph taken by author’s husband, Jesus Moreno, and submitted with his permission. The last food you ever ate was a cup of orange sherbet from the nurses’ station. I saw no reason to make you NPO. After all, you […]

Bob Edwards and the perils of publicity

James Owen Drife Leeds, United Kingdom   Edwards (seated, left) and Steptoe brief the press at Oldham General Hospital after the birth of Louise Brown. A license to publish in Hektoen International has been obtained from Press Association Photos Limited, London. The physiologist Robert Edwards began thinking about human in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in the 1950s and […]

Welcome another Earth-dweller

Ndembou C. Jean-Louis Bafut, Cameroon    Maternity ward of Bafut District Hospital, 2017 “Doctor, we have a thirty-eight-year-old lady, recently injured, having difficulties bearing down. And her baby’s heart rate is not the best,” a harried sounding nurse gushed over the phone. I groaned inwardly and reassured her I would arrive at the maternity ward […]

A mother’s voice

Kelsey Hart Denver, Colorado, United States   The trappings of NICU life; a mother’s view her daughter and the equipment needed to help her live and grow. Photo credit: James Hart I sit in the blue plastic recliner, coping with the familiar feeling of boredom and anxiety by flicking through a game on my phone. My […]

A history of breastfeeding and wet nurses

Nursan Cinar Sumeyra Topal Sinem Yalnizoglu Caka Sakarya, Turkey   The bond established with the milk never breaks off even if years passed. Wet nurse’s own son (at left) and milk son. Photo by Sümeyra Topal. Breastfeeding has been vital to life since the beginning of humanity. For infants who are unable to get this unique […]

“Sara, Bill, Kristine, … you’re pregnant!” Gestational surrogacy, biomedicalized bodies and reconceptualizations of motherhood

Eva-Sabine Zehelein Frankfurt, Germany   The day we left the hospital, a therapist from the perinatal loss department presented us with two death certificates and asked us if we wanted the bodies for a burial. . . . We were being taken out the back like the trash, sparing those families who came to the […]