Today, pregnant women learn everything there is to know about their growing babies thanks to 3-D ultrasounds, amniocentesis, and blood tests. Also, there are baby books available, pregnancy classes, and many other resources to help you learn about caring for your baby before and after birth. Women who were pregnant 50 years ago got advice from their doctors, but today, this advice just seems bizarre. This is what being pregnant was really like 50 years ago.
Today, doctors tell expectant mothers that they should consider breastfeeding. It is a great way to build up your baby’s immune system, which helps defend them against illness and infection.
In the ’50s, doctors told new mothers that breastfeeding was a bad idea. Even though the breast milk was free, and it had many health benefits, doctors told expectant mothers to bottle feed their children formula to avoid spreading germs.
Rubbing the Baby Belly
Expectant mothers often rub their baby bumps. Studies have shown that this kind of contact can help bond the mother and baby. It is also believed that the baby will respond to these sensations. During the ’50s, you never would have seen a woman rubbing her baby bump because it was said to cause damage to the baby or spoil it. Some people even believed that rubbing the belly would summon evil spirits.
Letting a Baby Cry
Today, we know that babies cry for a reason. If your baby is crying, she could be hungry, wet, tired, sick, or in need of attention. In the ’50s, it was believed that babies had to cry if their lungs were going to develop properly. Sydney Frandenburg wrote a book in 1946 called, Common Sense In the Nursery. In her book, she stated that if a baby is picked up without having a chance to cry, their lungs won’t expand properly.
Dad’s Weren’t Allowed In the Deliver Room
Today, if a father isn’t in the delivery room with the mother, he better have a good reason. Entire families are often in the room today, and the birth is often videotaped. Decades ago, men weren’t allowed in the delivery room, and women had to go it alone with their doctors and nurses. They were expected to prove their strength by going through labor alone. The expectant fathers had to stand out in the hall, pacing, waiting for good news.
Driving On Bumpy Roads
Today, there are plenty of old wives’ tales of how a woman can induce labor. Exercise, sex, herbal tea, and eating spicy foods are all said to help. During the ’50s, women believed that driving on bumpy roads would help induce labor is they were overdue. Women would get their husbands to take them on bumpy car rides, not realizing that this won’t help. There is no proof that bumpy terrain will induce labor.
Don’t Raise Your Arms
Today, pregnant women can do many things. Tennis player Serena Williams won the Australian Open when she was two months pregnant in 2017. During the ’50s, women believed that doing something as simple as lifting their arms up over their heads could be dangerous. Women back then believed that raising your arms above should level could cause the baby to shift in the womb, causing the umbilical cord to become wrapped around the baby’s neck. This theory has since been debunked.
Today, exercise is recommended for a pregnant woman. Brisk walks and light cardio workouts are great for mother and baby. The only time a woman is put on bed rest is if she has a high-risk pregnancy. In the ’50s, all expectant mothers were put on bed rest. Back then, being pregnant was considered to be a debilitating condition.
Today, pregnant women can benefit from soaking in the tub. Not only is a bath relaxing, but it can ease the aches and pains of pregnancy. In the ’50s, pregnant women were told by their doctors not to take a bath. Medical experts believed that the bathwater could seep into the uterus, causing harm to the baby.
Smoking and Drinking Was Okay
Today, as soon as a woman finds out she is pregnant, she needs to quit drinking and smoking because both can cause significant harm to the developing fetus. Back in the ’50s, women were offered a drink during their routine checkups, while doctors smoked right in the office. They also provided their patients cigarettes. It was believed that smoking and drinking would help relax the expectant mother, which was helpful for the baby.
Don’t Get Haircuts
Today, there is nothing wrong with getting a haircut while you are pregnant. Many women will cut their hair before the baby comes to make it easier to manage. During the ’50s, it was believed that getting a haircut while pregnant would harm the baby’s eyesight. They also believed that getting a haircut could cause developmental problems or shorten the child’s life.
Many pregnant women like to curl up with a good book because it is relaxing. In the ’50s, doctors told pregnant women not to read. They believed that stimulating storylines could harm the baby. Today, we know that this is ridiculous.