Midwife Problems, and Solutions, part 4
This is part four of a series on midwifery in Sweden and the United States. To read part one click here, part two click here, part three click here.
This elevation was not only for the good of the profession, but for the good of society. In 1863, one out of every ten women in Sweden would die during childbirth. Giving birth was probably the single scariest moment a woman in the 1800s would experience whether she was in Sweden or the United States. Labor was almost guaranteed to happen -- there was no reliable birth control, and pregnancy was dangerous. Women knew it was painful and could leave them permanently disabled or even kill them. A death left her family motherless, and soon, doctors realized this could be prevented.
Wretlind met Heden in 1876, when they were both teaching at the midwifery school in Goteborg. He moved to Stockholm in 1886, and started publishing and was a member of the Parliament, both things that would make him invaluable to the Midwives Association.
The midwives association, the publication Jordemodern, and the community of midwives elevated the profession before there was even a serious discussion about the safety of childbirth in the United States, or England or Germany for that matter.
Sweden's commitment to regulation and education saved lives, a legacy that still lives on today. All women see a midwife and the focus is on the healthiest birth a mother can have. In the United States, 90% of women see a doctor, a surgical specialist. Birth outcomes show the difference of this culture and history: in Sweden, maternal mortality is 4 per 100,000 live births, while in the U.S. it is nearly three times as high at 14 per 100,000. C-section rates in Sweden are 17%, while they are 33% in the U.S. -- a number that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said is too high. Infant mortality in Sweden is 2 deaths per 1,000 births compared with 6 per 1000 in the U.S.
You never know what you'll find in a box.
Midwife Problems, and Solutions, Part 3
This is part three of a series on midwifery in Sweden and the United States. To read part one, click here, to read part two, click here.
And during all this uncertainty, Johan van Hoorn was hoping someone would listen to him and his talk of jordegumman. Van Hoorn had studied medicine in the Netherlands and Paris, and had returned to Sweden to practice medicine and ended up spreading his gospel of training the midwife.
In Old English, midwife means with-woman, in Swedish jordemor (the jord comes from the Old Norse word for child or offspring) and barnmorska both mean child-mother. In Sweden at the end of the 1600s, most were untrained women known as jordegummor. Van Hoorn wanted to elevate their status, he wanted to make them barnmorskor. First, he put out the textbook called Then Swenske wäl-öfwade Jord-Gumman in 1697. In 1715, he published The Twenne Gudfruchtige I sitt kall trogne Och therföre af Gudi väl belönte Jordegummor Siphra och Pua, a textbook of questions and answers for midwives.
Midwife Problems, and Solutions, Part 2
This is part 2 of a series on the history of midwifery in the U.S. and Sweden. Click here to read part 1.
In Baltimore city, over 150 midwives delivered over 4,000 babies a year, and in every city and town in the U.S., you could find a woman delivering a baby, calling herself a midwife. But just like there were no regulations for doctors, there were no regulations for midwives. Why didn't the U.S. regulate the medical profession? And what did that mean for the health and safety of babies and mothers?
(Hey! I'm trying something new here, with a series of short, interconnected posts based on research and archives I visited in the fall of 2015, relating to Swedish midwifery and comparing it to the U.S. Let me know what you think in the contact section.)
Hanna Karlen arrived in Boston on October 11, 1901 with four pieces of luggage. She was 36, traveling alone. On the ship's manifest, Karlen called herself a nurse, a statement that wasn't totally accurate.
I always loved finding old greeting post-cards when I worked at the archive. What better day to share some of my favorites?
Classic cupid cherubs are always a good choice for telling your valentine how much you care...
But then, you can also get more original. These are two of my favorites. I couldn't decide if the one with the Dutch children is poorly translated, or if it is supposed to be wrong, as if they can't quite make their English flirting correct. And I've definitely printed copies of the tickle card. I find it such a great image of how couples had to flirt in the early 1900s.
Check out my new piece on OZY about El Hadj Sidikida Diabate, his sons, and the start of Guinean National Orchestras in West Africa.
On January 15, 1959, Sidikiba put together the first Guinean national orchestra, the Syli National Orchestra. The played at international festivals, including this one in 1969.
Check out more music and stories of the Guinean orchestras here on the blog.
When I was working in central West Virginia, I would often see these birds-eye view maps of small towns, like Buckhannon or Elkins. I quickly realized that there was no way the artist - the maps were signed T.M Fowler - could actually have been looking down on the city. There wasn't a hill or mountain at those angles, and he surely wasn't ascending in a balloon to get the right perspective. How did he do it?
With candles in her hair, dressed in white with a bright red sash, Lucia comes to bring warmth, light, and goodies in the dark Swedish winter.
A museum in blog form.
Come read the stories behind objects and ephemera found in private collections, archives, and museums.