How do you measure a woman's pain? Historian Whitney Wood aims to find outHistorians in the News
tags: books, historians, research, womens history, medical history
Medical historian Whitney Wood first became interested in the history of women's pain through an undergraduate course that described the practice of "twilight sleep."
Wood, who is the new Canada Research Chair at Nanaimo, B.C.'s Vancouver Island University, says twilight sleep was a form of anesthesia that was popular in the early 20th century, administered to women in labour.
The drug mixture contained a blend of anesthetic and amnesia drugs. Labouring patients would still experience pain in giving birth, but the amnesiac part meant they didn't remember it.
At the same time, the drugs made women extremely excitable and sensitive to stimulation, prompting them to jump out of bed and injure themselves, Wood said.
This meant that the labouring mother would often have to wear a straitjacket and a blindfold to restrict stimulation and control her movements.
"From our modern perspective this sounds horrific ... but for many women in the early 20th century this was a good type of birth and women actively sought this out," Wood said. "My main question was why."
comments powered by Disqus
- A New Data Analysis Can Answer the Question "Do I Live in the Suburbs?"
- Santae Tribble, Whose Wrongful Conviction Revealed FBI Forensic Hair Match Flaws, Dies at 59
- Crowd Rallies to Keep Confederate Memorial in Downtown St. Augustine
- As Divisions Threaten America, The Pressure To Cancel Presidents Is Dangerous
- Trump is Going All In on Divisive Culture Wars. That Might not Work this Time.
- The Anthem Debate Is Back. But Now It’s Standing That’s Polarizing.
- To the World, We’re Now America the Racist and Pitiful
- ‘Hamilton’ and the Historical Record: Frequently Asked Questions
- MIT Professor Tunney Lee, an Architect, Urban Planner, and Historian of Chinatown, Dies at 88
- ‘The Most Ignorant and Unfit’: What Made America’s Worst Ever Leader?