Searchlights on Health/Child Bearing Without Pain
CHILD BEARING WITHOUT PAIN.
HOW TO DRESS, DIET AND EXERCISE IN PREGNANCY.
1. AILMENTS.—Those ailments to which pregnant women are liable are mostly inconveniences rather than diseases, although they may be aggravated to a degree of danger. No patent nostrums or prescriptions are necessary. If there is any serious difficulty the family physician should be consulted.
2. COMFORT.—Wealth and luxuries are not a necessity. Comfort will make the surroundings pleasant. Drudgery, overwork and exposure are the three things that tend to make women miserable while in the state of pregnancy, and invariably produce irritable, fretful and feeble children. Dr. Stockham says in her admirable work "Tokology:" "The woman who indulges in the excessive gayety of fashionable life, as well as the overworked woman, deprives her child of vitality. She attends parties in a dress that is unphysiological in warmth, distribution and adjustment, in rooms badly ventilated; partakes of a supper of indigestible compounds, and remains into the 'wee, sma' hours,' her nervous system taxed to the utmost."
3. EXERCISE.—A goodly amount of moderate exercise is a necessity, and a large amount of work may be accomplished if prudence is properly exercised. It is overwork, and the want of sufficient rest and sleep that produces serious results.
4. DRESSES.—A pregnant woman should make her dresses of light material and avoid surplus trimmings. Do not wear anything that produces any unnecessary weight. Let the clothing be light but sufficient in quantity to produce comfort in all kinds of weather.
5. GARMENTS.—It is well understood that the mother must breathe for two, and in order to dress healthily the garments should be worn loose, so as to give plenty of room for respiration. Tight clothes only cause disease, or produce frailty or malformation in the offspring.
6. SHOES.—Wear a large shoe in pregnancy; the feet may swell and untold discomfort may be the result. Get a good large shoe with a large sole. Give the feet plenty of room. Many women suffer from defects in vision, indigestion, backache, loss of voice, headache, etc., simply as the result of the reflex action of the pressure of tight shoes.
7. LACING.—Many women lace themselves to the first period of their gestation in order to meet their society engagements. All of this is vitally wrong and does great injury to the unborn child as well as to inflict many ills and pains upon the mother.
8. CORSETS.—Corsets should be carefully avoided, for the corset more than any other one thing is responsible for making woman the victim of more woes and diseases than all other causes put together. About one-half the children born in this country die before they are five years of age, and no doubt this terrible mortality is largely due to this instrument of torture known as the modern corset. Tight lacing is the cause of infantile mortality. It slowly but surely takes the lives of tens of thousands, and so effectually weakens and diseases, so as to cause the untimely death of millions more.
9. BATHING.—Next to godliness is cleanliness. A pregnant woman should take a sponge or towel-bath two or three times a week. It stimulates and invigorates the entire body. No more than two or three minutes are required. It should be done in a warm room, and the body rubbed thoroughly after each bathing.
10. THE HOT SITZ-BATH.—This bath is one of the most desirable and healthful baths for pregnant women. It will relieve pain or acute inflammation, and will be a general tonic in keeping the system in a good condition. This may be taken in the middle of the forenoon or just before retiring, and if taken just before retiring will produce invigorating sleep, will quiet the nerves, cure headache, weariness, etc. It is a good plan to take this bath every night before retiring in case of any disorders. A woman who keeps this tip during the period of gestation will have a very easy labor and a strong, vigorous babe.
11. HOT FOMENTATIONS.—Applying flannel cloths wrung out of simple or medicated hot water is a great relief for acute suffering, such as neuralgia, rheumatic pain, biliousness, constipation, torpid liver, colic, flatulency, etc.
12. THE HOT WATER-BAG.—The hot water-bag serves the same purpose as hot fomentations, and is much more convenient. No one should go through the period of gestation without a hot water-bag.
13. THE COLD COMPRESS.—This is a very desirable and effectual domestic remedy. Take a towel wrung from cold water and apply it to the affected parts; then cover well with several thicknesses of flannel. This is excellent in cases of sore throat, hoarseness, bronchitis, inflammation of the lungs, croup, etc. It is also excellent for indigestion, constipation or distress of the bowels accompanied by heat.
14. DIET.—The pregnant woman should eat nutritious, but not stimulating or heating food, and eat at the regular time. Avoid drinking much while eating.
15. AVOID salt, pepper and sweets as much as possible.
16. EAT all kinds of grains, vegetables and fruits, and avoid salted meat, but eat chicken, steak, fish, oysters, etc.
17. THE WOMAN WHO EATS INDISCRIMINATELY anything and everything the same as any other person, will have a very painful labor and suffer many ills that could easily be avoided by more attention being paid to the diet. With a little study and observation a woman will soon learn what to eat and what to avoid.
18. The above cuts are given on page 113; we repeat them here for the benefit of expectant mothers who may be ignorant of the evil effects of the corset.
Displacement of the womb, interior irritation and inflammation, miscarriage and sterility, are some of the many injuries of tight lacing. There are many others, in fact their name is legion, and every woman who has habitually worn a corset and continues to wear it during the early period of gestation must suffer severely during childbirth.
19. THIS IS WHAT DR. STOCKHAM says: "If women had common sense, instead of fashion sense, the corset would not exist. There are not words in the English language to express my convictions upon this subject. The corset more than any other one thing is responsible for woman's being the victim of disease and doctors....
"What is the effect upon the child? One-half of the children born in this country die before they are five years of age. Who can tell how much this state of things is due to the enervation of maternal life forces by the one instrument of torture?
"I am a temperance woman. No one can realize more than I the devastation and ruin alcohol in its many tempting forms has brought to the human family. Still I solemnly believe that in weakness and deterioration of health, the corset has more to answer for than intoxicating drinks." When asked how far advanced a woman should be in pregnancy before she laid aside her corset, Dr. Stockham said with emphasis: "The corset should not be worn for two hundred years before pregnancy takes place. Ladies, it will take that time at least to overcome the ill-effect of tight garments which you think so essential."
20. PAINLESS PREGNANCY AND CHILD-BIRTH.—"Some excellent popular volumes," says Dr. Haff, "have been largely devoted to directions how to secure a comfortable period of pregnancy and painless delivery. After much conning of these worthy efforts to impress a little common sense upon the sisterhood, we are convinced that all may be summed up under the simple heads of: (1) An unconfined and lightly burdened waist; (2) Moderate but persistent outdoor exercise, of which walking is the best form; (3) A plain unstimulating, chiefly fruit and vegetable diet; (4) Little or no intercourse during the time.
"These are hygienic rules of benefit under any ordinary conditions; yet they are violated by almost every pregnant lady. If they are followed, biliousness, indigestion, constipation, swollen limbs, morning sickness and nausea—all will absent themselves or be much lessened. In pregnancy more than at any other time, corsets are injurious. The waist and abdomen must be allowed to expand freely with the growth of the child. The great process of evolution must have room."
21. IN ADDITION, we can do no better than quote the following recapitulation by Dr. Stockham in her famous Tokology: "To give a woman the greatest immunity from suffering during pregnancy, prepare her for a safe and comparatively easy delivery, and insure a speedy recovery, all hygienic conditions must be observed.
"The dress must give:
"1. Freedom of movement;
"2. No pressure upon any part of the body;
"3. No more weight than is essential for warmth, and both weight and warmth evenly distributed.
"These requirements necessitate looseness, lightness and warmth, which can be obtained from the union underclothes, a princess skirt and dress, with a shoe that allows full development and use of the foot. While decoration and elegance are desirable, they should not sacrifice comfort and convenience.
22. "LET THE DIET BE LIGHT, plain and nutritious. Avoid fats and sweets, relying mainly upon fruits and grain that contain little of the mineral salts. By this diet bilious and inflammatory conditions are overcome, the development of bone in the foetus lessened, and muscles necessary in labor nourished and strengthened.
23. "EXERCISE should be sufficient and of such a character as will bring into action gently every muscle of the body; but must particularly develop the muscles of the trunk, abdomen and groin, that are specially called into action in labor. Exercise, taken faithfully and systematically, more than any other means assists assimilative processes and stimulates the organs of excretion to healthy action.
24. "BATHING MUST BE FREQUENT and regular. Unless in special conditions the best results are obtained from tepid or cold bathing, which invigorates the system and overcomes nervousness. The sitz-bath is the best therapeutic and hygienic measure within the reach of the pregnant woman.
"Therefore, to establish conditions which will overcome many previous infractions of law, dress naturally and physiologically; live much of the time out of doors; have abundance of fresh air in the house; let exercise be sufficient and systematic; pursue a diet of fruit, rice and vegetables; regular rest must be faithfully taken; abstain from the sexual relation. To those who will commit themselves to this course of life, patiently and persistently carrying it out through the period of gestation, the possibilities of attaining a healthy, natural, painless parturition will be remarkably increased.
25. "IF THE FIRST EXPERIMENT should not result in a painless labor, it without doubt will prove the beginning of sound health. Persisted in through years of married life, the ultimate result will be more and more closely approximated, while there will be less danger of diseases after childbirth and better and more vigorous children will be produced.
"Then pregnancy by every true woman will be desired, and instead of being a period of disease, suffering and direful forebodings, will become a period of health, exalted pleasure and holiest anticipations. Motherhood will be deemed the choicest of earth's blessings; women will rejoice in a glad maternity and for any self-denial will be compensated by healthy, happy, buoyant, grateful children."