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Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America

Jacqueline H. Wolf

24 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0801891108 / ISBN 13: 9780801891106
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth ...

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

Publication Date: 2009

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 1.

About this title

Synopsis:

Despite today's historically low maternal and infant mortality rates in the United States, labor continues to evoke fear among American women. Rather than embrace the natural childbirth methods promoted in the 1970s, most women welcome epidural anesthesia and even Cesarean deliveries. In Deliver Me from Pain, Jacqueline H. Wolf asks how a treatment such as obstetric anesthesia, even when it historically posed serious risk to mothers and newborns, paradoxically came to assuage women's anxiety about birth.

Each chapter begins with the story of a birth, dramatically illustrating the unique practices of the era being examined. Deliver Me from Pain covers the development and use of anesthesia from ether and chloroform in the mid-nineteenth century; to amnesiacs, barbiturates, narcotics, opioids, tranquilizers, saddle blocks, spinals, and gas during the mid-twentieth century; to epidural anesthesia today.

Labor pain is not merely a physiological response, but a phenomenon that mothers and physicians perceive through a historical, social, and cultural lens. Wolf examines these influences and argues that medical and lay views of labor pain and the concomitant acceptance of obstetric anesthesia have had a ripple effect, creating the conditions for acceptance of other, often unnecessary, and sometimes risky obstetric treatments: forceps, the chemical induction and augmentation of labor, episiotomy, electronic fetal monitoring, and Cesarean section.

As American women make decisions about anesthesia today, Deliver Me from Pain offers them insight into how women made this choice in the past and why each generation of mothers has made dramatically different decisions.

From the Back Cover:

Despite historically low maternal and infant mortality rates in the United States, labor continues to evoke fear among American women. Rather than embrace the natural childbirth methods promoted in the 1970s, most women welcome epidural anesthesia and even cesarean deliveries. In Deliver Me from Pain, Jacqueline H. Wolf asks how obstetric anesthesia, even when it historically posed serious risk to mothers and newborns, paradoxically came to assuage women's anxiety about giving birth.

"Like many of the women she describes, Wolf has delivered a beautiful product that is both painless and joyful to encounter."―American Historical Review

"Wolf's unique focus on pain management brings a fresh perspective to the literature about childbirth and new understandings of this life-changing event in women's lives and histories."―Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"It is perhaps Wolf's utter engagement with the material that is responsible for producing such a dynamic history."―Journal of the History of Biology

"Much needed addition to the blossoming scholarly work on childbirth history."―Women's Review of Books

"A fascinating overview of childbirth from the 1840s to the present day."―Medical History

"An important study of the choices made by other generations. For those who care about and study birth, understanding how we got here and why is imperative in considering where we go from here."―Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health

"I would recommend this book to health professionals who are committed to understanding and acknowledging that every woman experiences childbirth in an individual and unique manner."―Health and History

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