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1950 Film on Labor and Childbirth

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Finding myself with a few extra minutes today I came across an old medical film, this time on my favorite subject, labor and delivery. As I pushed play on this video I thought to myself I will finally know what it was like for my grandma when she went to the hospital to have my mom.

The opening scene made me a bit wistful as the women depicted at first glance looks a lot like my grandma when she was young (of course my grandma was prettier).

The film "Education for Childbirth" is pretty basic. After 9 months of waiting and waiting our mother packs her suitcase (with items to help her be pretty), keeps busy (ironing) and waits some more for labor to begin. As her contractions begin the narrator counts down how far apart they are, and when it is time to leave for the hospital she makes sure her lipstick is on!

Once at the calm, quiet, sterile hospital, the staff and doctor take over. Hospital gown, shaved pubic hair, enema, pills from a cup and then our laboring mother pulls out her knitting! I had to laugh at that....my grandma liked to crochet. I can imagine it now.

Once at the 2nd stage of labor it was time for the delivery room and the drug choices: continuous coil anesthesia set (twilight sleep), saddle block set or gas! Feel free to ask for ANYTHING, but leave it to your doctor to decide. Soon baby arrives and doctor tells you that you did a fine job, you deserve a rest…..let your husband get the annoucnements out, buy the cigars and candy for the office.

The film ends with just a bit more doctor-hospital propaganda:

The birth that you have seen is an average normal birth there may be some slight variation from it where you are concerned.

Remember you can depend upon your doctor, he may use differnet methods but he has only one aim to help you have your baby.