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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Childbirth

Childhood was a source of embarrassment to the Romans. A Roman baby did not exist until its father picked it up. It would be born in one room, carried by the midwife next door to the man of the house, and placed on a piece of cloth on the floor. The father then had a right to pick it up or not. If he did not, then the baby was strangled or left out on a dung heap.

The first account of a Caesarean operation that the mother survived is dramatic. It was performed in about 1500 AD by Jacob Nufer of Sigershaufen, Switzerland.. In great distress he watched as his wife, Frau, struggle to deliver her child, possibly because of the baby’s position. He knew nothing about obstetrics but he was an efficient sow-gelder. Fearing for the health of both mother and child, he took a razor and with it cut open the uterus to release the baby.

In later years Frau Nufer gave birth to six other children. The "Caesarean boy" lived to the age of 77.

The first known Caesarean section in the British Isles was performed in 1738, by an illiterate midwife named Mary Donally, in Charlemont, Ireland, using a razor.Tthe baby, sadly, had already died, but the mother survived.

For hundreds of years, royal women gave birth in front of spectators to prove to the court that the child was the fruit of a royal's womb.

The most prolific mother in recorded history was Valentina Vassilyeva, wife of an 18th century Russian peasant. She bore 69 children from 27 pregnancies between 1725 & 1765. They comprised 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.


Joseph Stalin imposed a 6% tax on childless men and women in order to bolster the Soviet Union population.

In 1977 Mrs. James Duck of Memphis became history's fastest mother. Her triplets were born naturally in under two minutes.

The world's first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born on July 25, 1978 at Oldham General Hospital, in Oldham, England. She weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces (2.608 kg) at birth. Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years.


By the time Louise Brown had turned 21, more than 300,000 women worldwide had conceived through IVF.

Elizabeth Carr, the first American test-tube baby, was born at 7:46 am on December 28, 1981. She came into this world two and a half years after the world’s first test tube baby, Oldham, England-born Louise Brown.  Elizabeth was delivered at Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, weighing 5 pounds 12 ounces. She is now a journalist.


The world’s first test-tube baboon was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 25, 1983.  As the first non-human primate conceived in a laboratory dish, it was named ET (standing for Embryo Transfer).

IVF procedures are actually generally performed in a Petri dish, not a test tube.

In 1993 President Clinton signed the Family Leave Bill, which allowed workers to take time off to deal with the birth or adoption of a child.

In 1998 a 40-year-old Florida woman gave birth to a son in the first-ever live birth on the Internet before an audience estimated by a cable health network at two million people.

When Leo Blair was born to Tony and Cherie Blair in 2000, he became the first baby born to a sitting Prime Minister in 150 years.

World-wide 83 in every 1,000 babies died before their first birthday in 2006.

Average age at which British mothers have their first baby: 29.7.

There are at least 5 confirmed cases of women successfully giving themselves Caesarean sections. One involved a Mexican village woman with no medical training, who after 12 hours of labor pains, took three shots of liquor, cut into her uterus with a kitchen knife, and retrieved her baby alive after an hour.

Almost half of all babies in China are born by Caesarean section.

Sources Daily Mail, Daily ExpressChronicle of The World, Europress Family Encyclopaedia 1999

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