Saturday, April 23, 2016

Childbirth in the 1800s


I spend a lot of time photographing the older cemeteries in New England. One sad recurrent theme is the large number of women who die in childbirth or shortly thereafter. In 1800 women gave birth and average of 7 times during their lives. At that time women had a shorter life expendancy than men

The 1850s U.S. Census showed that the infant mortality rate to be 28 percent. Conditions didn't improve later in the century when doctors became involved spreading puerperal infection with their unwashed hands.

Mrs. Betsy Knowles died five days after giving birth to her third child