Who shot AR? (myxginxblossoms) wrote in little_details,
Who shot AR?

1950s U.S. Maternity Wards

I'm looking for descriptions of typical hospital procedures, particularly on maternity wards, in the early 1950s. (The story in question takes place in 1951 Manhattan, but any sources within about five years either direction would be acceptable for my purposes.)

While there are timelines of the history of childbirth here on this fair internets, they tend to focus very specifically on the actual childbirth procedures--when forceps became common, the use of twilight sleep, etc.--and they're almost all published on natural birth-related websites. I want something a little broader in scope and less hopelessly biased. (A lot of aspects of childbirth in the mid-20th century sucked, I agree! But that's not actually relevant to what I'm trying to write right now, and I'm not inclined to assume I'm getting the whole story from people trying to sell me a natural birth experience on the rest of their site.) I'd like information more along the lines of whether/when visitors were allowed, what kinds of activities new mothers were allowed after giving birth (they'd be in the hospital 5-7 days afterward, after all!), how much they got to see their child (I know that a 12-hour isolation from the mother after birth wasn't uncommon), what a day spent in the hospital after giving birth might be like, et cetera. In-depth (and again, more academically sound than what one might find on a midwifery website) information about various childbirth procedures would be helpful, too, but it's not the primary thrust of what I'm after.

eta: Just to be clear, I'm not in doubt that the act of giving birth in the 1950s could be invasive, stressful, and dangerous. I'm just much more interested in writing about what happens after that point. Thanks.

Things I've googled: maternity ward 1950(s), 1950s childbirth experience, 1950s giving birth, 1950s pregnancy book, 1940s childbirth, delivery room 1950s, hospital rules 1950s, hospital visiting hours 1950s, hospital stay 1950s, hospitals 1950s, visiting a person in the hospital 1950, childbirth 20th century, et cetera.
Tags: 1950-1959, usa: health care and hospitals, ~medicine: reproduction

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