Call The Midwife (Guest Blog by my Mum)

Having a baby in the 70’s required quite a leap of faith, or maybe just caused less anxiety, depending on how you viewed it. There were no scans routinely and only a few screening tests available, so if something was wrong with your baby you often didn’t find out until they were born. The sex of the baby unknown until the magic moment the midwife said “It’s a boy/girl”

At the ante natal clinic bumps were palpated and the foetal heart listened to using a trumpet-shaped, silver object called a Pinard Horn. On my last visit at 42 weeks prior to induction with one of my babies, the doctor announced that if only one small baby was to bedelivered they would look for a twin as I was quite large! Slightly unnerving to say the least. I am not sure to this day if he was joking. It was only one though, a 9lb baby.

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Labour was spent immobile on the delivery bed, so no wonder it took so long to give birth. That was after a routine shave and enema. The enema I can understand but the Brazilian! The itchy regrowth along with stitches and bruising were not fun!

Epidurals were around but only if an anaesthetist available, if more than one needed and they were in theatre you didn’t get one.

Dads certainly did not cut the cord; thought far too medical for them. Men were now able to be in the delivery room, rather than confined to the smoke-filled waiting room to pace until invited in to meet their babies.

It was usual practice then to remain in hospital for 7 days postnatal after the birth of your first baby, longer for c sections and 4-5 days for subsequent ones. Each ward had a nursery where the babies stayed between feeds and at night. They were brought out for visiting time, an hour in the afternoon and an hour for dads only in the evening. Not so good for bonding or safety but you certainly went home rested! The ward had a smoking room for mothers, can you believe that?

As I write this I am wondering how I managed to produce 2 healthy babies but I did. We worried from time to time if the baby was ok, but if you felt movements and it was growing and urine and blood pressure ok you felt reassured, maybe falsely, but that’s how it was.

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It was more Call the Midwife than One Born Every Minute.

Jan xx

(Kate’s Mummy)

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