Childbed Fever | Tudor Life and Times | Forum

Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —




— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Childbed Fever
April 13, 2011
1:41 pm
Avatar
Sophie1536
Lincolnshire UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 306
Member Since:
January 17, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

What exactly was this? It's always puzzled me and I know that it effected Royal women and low born women alike but I really don't know what exactly it was and the cause, can anyone enlighten me please 🙂
Childbirth was a risky business and so very different from today but what dangers were most common in those times? I'm sure a lot of the problems came from the the lying in for weeks on end and afterwards not getting up for days and weeks, this surely was not good.

http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh144/nicksbabe28/Backstreet%20n%20Graffix/Image4-1.jpg

April 13, 2011
2:25 pm
Avatar
MegC
Georgia, US
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 426
Member Since:
October 31, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I think childbed fever was some sort of bacteria infection that I think typically developed due to failure to deliver the placenta at all or completely.  It was also called puerperal fever.  Even though the placenta should deliver normally after labor and delivery, sometimes it didn't or a piece of it could be left behind in the uterus.  

It still happens today.  A girl I've known for years who little girl was literally born the day before my son had this problem and had to have some sort of emergency surgery to correct it as it wasn't caught until she returned to her ob/gyn for her 6-week check-up (that was 2008).  My MIL was hospitalized after my SIL was born because of it (this was in 1982).  And (this might be TMI for some people…fair warning) after I had my daughter, I randomly stopped contracting and my doctor had to deliver my placenta manually (you really don't want to know what that entails) and then I had to take some serious high-powered antibiotics to prevent infection (2010). 

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

April 14, 2011
1:34 am
Avatar
Kim
Australia
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 57
Member Since:
October 12, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I'm no expert on childbirth myself, but I think the conditions of the day wouldn't have helped either. Back then no one was aware of bacteria and all the havoc they could wreck on you. It wasn't a particularly clean environment, which would have only served to up the risk of various infections. But as far as the childbed fever-specific question, I think Meg is right on the mark.

April 14, 2011
8:19 am
Avatar
Sophie1536
Lincolnshire UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 306
Member Since:
January 17, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanx for replying 🙂 The very thought of giving birth in those times fills me with horror, it really was a dicey business.
I was quite ill myself after giving birth to my daughter as her heart stopped literally with every contraction so she had to be delivered very quickly by Ventouse and that was quite traumatic but what these poor women went through must have been terrifying, no wonder many died in childbirth and got infections.
I can only imagine what medical and painful procedures women went through if anything went wrong, my heart goes out to them…….

http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh144/nicksbabe28/Backstreet%20n%20Graffix/Image4-1.jpg

April 14, 2011
9:21 am
Avatar
Anyanka
La Belle Province
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 2337
Member Since:
November 18, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

It wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that doctors started to treat wounds anti-septically. Even them, some surgeons reused to wash their hands or instruments before operating helping to spread bacteria and viruses from patient to patient.

 

Old wives' remedies like mouldy bread on a wound presaged anti-boitics. But were not always succcessful.

 

I had a retained placenta with DD1. I was rushed to surgery due to heamorraging but since I'd been awake for 2 days, I slept though the manual extraction.

It's always bunnies.

April 15, 2011
5:55 pm
Avatar
MegC
Georgia, US
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 426
Member Since:
October 31, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Anyanka said:

It wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that doctors started to treat wounds anti-septically. Even them, some surgeons reused to wash their hands or instruments before operating helping to spread bacteria and viruses from patient to patient.

 

Old wives' remedies like mouldy bread on a wound presaged anti-boitics. But were not always succcessful.

 

I had a retained placenta with DD1. I was rushed to surgery due to heamorraging but since I'd been awake for 2 days, I slept though the manual extraction.


Unless the mold on the bread happened to be penicillin! ;-D  Which would have totally been a long-shot!  

The story of Ignaz Semmelweis is very interesting as he is credited for having greatly reduced the number of maternal deaths due to childbed fever.  He worked in the Vienna General Hospital's Obstetrics Clinic which had two wards–one ward was for training physicians and the other ward was used for training midwives.  Women were randomly assigned to a ward as they came into the hospital–probably based on wherever a bed was available.  The midwife ward had a mortality rate of, like, 3% whereas the physician's ward had a mortality rate of close to 16% at one point (and the midwife ward was always more crowded).  Apparently, the physicians ward had a reputation that was so poor that women BEGGED to be admitted to the midwife ward instead. He finally realized that the women were being contaminated by the doctors/students who would perform autopsies on the women who had died the previous day in the mornings and then proceed to deliver babies in the afternoon and evenings without washing their hands first!!  Thus, they were exposing these poor women to all these bacteria!  Midwives, however, did not perform dissections.  Semmelweis ordered all medical students to wash their hands in a chlorinated lime solution and mortality rates dropped to roughly 3% in the medical student ward.  Since Germ Theory had not been developed yet, Simmelweis knew nothing of bacteria so he proposed that physicians were exposing women to “cadaverous particles” and he chose the chlorinated lime solution because he noticed that it worked best to eliminate the smell of cadaver from the hands.

Unfortunately, others were reluctant to adopt Simmelweis's techniques so his work went ignored and panned until Pasteur developed the Germ Theory.  Sadly, Simmelweis either had a nervous breakdown or possibly Alzheimer's and died in an asylum in 1865 (I think) of, ironically, septicemia. 

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

May 30, 2011
12:07 pm
Avatar
BoleynBlue
UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 76
Member Since:
April 18, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

When you think that women still die in Childbirth today, -I used to work in maternity and there were four deaths during my time there. Then it doesnt surprise me that women did die during those times. I think that Megc is spot on about bacterial infections and retained placentas.

My own Great grandmother died giving birth to my Grandfather, I am not sure if this was due to childbed fever though or a different type of complication.

May 30, 2011
4:36 pm
Avatar
Impish_Impulse
US Midwest
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 595
Member Since:
August 12, 2009
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

BoleynBlue said:

My own Great grandmother died giving birth to my Grandfather, I am not sure if this was due to childbed fever though or a different type of complication.


My great-great grandmother died within a week of giving birth to my great grandfather, ironically on her 1 year wedding anniversary. GG Grandpa Webb didn't know what to do with a newborn (roughly 1910 – how times have changed!), so the baby was raised by his sister, Belle. Dad said they lived within a ½ mile of each other, and his grandpa literally ran back and forth between the houses daily. He knew who his dad was, but he considered his Aunt Belle his mother, so stayed with her. (I'd asked my Dad why Webb didn't take his son back when he remarried. Dad said his grandpa was 2 by then, and all concerned thought it would have been cruel to take him away from the only mother he knew.)

                        survivor ribbon                             

               "Don't knock at death's door. 

          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

May 30, 2011
11:35 pm
Avatar
BoleynBlue
UK
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 76
Member Since:
April 18, 2011
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Impish Impulse, your great Grandfather's story sounds just like my Grandfather's. He was given to his Mother's friend to raise, and even though his Father remarried he never went to live with him. My Grandfather rarely knew who his father was until he reached the agel he could go out to work, then his Father wanted him in his life.

May 31, 2011
2:45 am
Avatar
DuchessofBrittany
Canada
Member
Members
Forum Posts: 846
Member Since:
June 7, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

As I read these sad stories of maternal death, I am reminded of the vicarious nature of life, and my own existence. I am an avid amateur genealogist whose research my own family tree extensivley. If one ancestor died in childbirth, for example, the course of my own existence might never have happened.

It is still horrible that women die in post-natal care today, and not just in the Third World. In the supposedly developed Core and Perpheral countries have high rates of maternal and infant death. That is one aspect of childbirth that scares me.

I am not sure if it's the same where you are all from, but on Prince Edward Island there is a disproportionally high number of women having c-sections. I know some women need them to avoid complications and fetal/mother death. But this was not the case with women I know.

I am always saddened when I think of the horrible death of Jane Seymour. She may not be my favourite person, but the slow, agonizing death is not something any women deserved.

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

Forum Timezone: Europe/London

Most Users Ever Online: 214

Currently Online:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Anyanka: 2337

Boleyn: 2285

Sharon: 2115

Bella44: 933

DuchessofBrittany: 846

Mya Elise: 781

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 0

Members: 427746

Moderators: 0

Admins: 1

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 13

Topics: 1713

Posts: 23079

Newest Members:

albakl4, Michaelfen, RamonTuP, LonnieMef, FSUimance, Lefferttault

Administrators: Claire: 959