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Childbirth
August 22, 2012
3:21 pm
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Olga
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Cross-contamination occurs when raw food is mixed with cooked food, namely meat. It doesn’t actually happen as often as the health inspectors would have you believe either. Most raw food spoils because of poor refrigeration (or just keeping it too long obviously), cooked food because of cooking to cooling time. I’ve seen stuff spoil overnight for no apparent reason, most likely some random bacteria bred while it was cooling down.
No matter what the hygiene standards were of the day I doubt any proud cook would be preparing Henry’s food on a filthy bench. Of course I’m completely biased, but hand-washing is required often, and not just for hygiene purposes. You can’t start carving up a joint when you’ve got your hand covered in sticky flour, you’ll spoil the dish. Like you can’t start handling pastries covered in blood. You’d have to have separate cooks in their respective areas, you can’t handle some foods in hot areas, like pastry. Wooden benches would most likely have spread bacteria, dirty floor, definitely, rushes. But I imagine kitchens would have to function back then as they do today in regards to prep areas, or it would be chaos.
Still, our systems evolve, I reckon if they tried a blue steak, or beef raw, or fish raw, all of which I enjoy, it would have killed them.

Bo I thought they just used rags for their periods. I can’t imagine what else they would have access to. PG mentioned the wadding in TOBG, I remember that.

Sorry I just went back to edit this and add something and I’ve posted twice Confused

August 23, 2012
1:58 am
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Tash Wakefield
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I think the wadding was raised in Phillipa Gregories the other boleyn girl. After mary has one of her babies and they send her into henry. The idea of the trauma of childbirth, being so ill and probably with severe anemia and bleeding out so much that you were weak, then sucking it up, clogging yourself to hold the blood and hopping into bed with anybody would be traumatic and make you feel so very violating even if you were as a woman considered to be expendable. The whole thing is horrifying! And i dont think the idea of the woman, or girl being ‘churched’ after birth remedies any of these issues except the mans conscience!

August 23, 2012
4:11 am
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Anyanka
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Talking to my grand mother and her cohorts…material wadding was used pre WWI. After that the new absorbant bandaging materials were ‘aquired’ by the nurses/VADS/FANYs for thier personal use and eventaully reached the main-stream of British women.

It's always bunnies.

August 23, 2012
6:39 am
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Olga
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Just on the topic of hygiene, I recently read a non-fiction book where the author kept banging on and on about how smelly and filthy everyone was. It got annoying, I don’t feel I should compare our hygiene standards to people who lived five hundred years ago and didn’t have access to proper medicine, dentistry, waste disposal etc. It’s fine to point it out but when you get to the point of almost making fun of them it’s just a bit mean.
I am randomly reading John Guys book on Thomas beckett, I was interested to see him note they used green hazel shoots to clean their teeth and then polished them with a soft cloth.

Ellie is there any general books on Tudor life you could recommend for me? You always have some little gems to share, and I’d like to read a little more about their everyday life. Even what sort of soap they used lol, I find it fascinating. There’s a set of three books The Tudor Encyclopaedia, I am looking at which were published last year but they cost a mint.

August 23, 2012
8:11 pm
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Elliemarianna
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Olga said

Just on the topic of hygiene, I recently read a non-fiction book where the author kept banging on and on about how smelly and filthy everyone was. It got annoying, I don’t feel I should compare our hygiene standards to people who lived five hundred years ago and didn’t have access to proper medicine, dentistry, waste disposal etc. It’s fine to point it out but when you get to the point of almost making fun of them it’s just a bit mean.
I am randomly reading John Guys book on Thomas beckett, I was interested to see him note they used green hazel shoots to clean their teeth and then polished them with a soft cloth.

Ellie is there any general books on Tudor life you could recommend for me? You always have some little gems to share, and I’d like to read a little more about their everyday life. Even what sort of soap they used lol, I find it fascinating. There’s a set of three books The Tudor Encyclopaedia, I am looking at which were published last year but they cost a mint.

Thank you Laugh indeed I love reading about their everyday lives, it makes it so much more real for me when I read more ‘biographical’ history books.
For books on the lifestyles of women during the Tudor period, I love –

Alison Sim – The Tudor Housewife, 2010.

S. Thurley – The Royal Palaces of Tudor England: Architecture and Court Life, 1993.

Alison Plowden – Tudor Women, 2002.

Christopher Gidlow – Life in a Tudor Palace, 2011

Anything by David Starkey, his Six wives is awesome and very imformative.

"It is however but Justice, & my Duty to declre that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs..." Jane Austen.

August 23, 2012
8:42 pm
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Boleyn
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Elliemarianna said

Olga said

Just on the topic of hygiene, I recently read a non-fiction book where the author kept banging on and on about how smelly and filthy everyone was. It got annoying, I don’t feel I should compare our hygiene standards to people who lived five hundred years ago and didn’t have access to proper medicine, dentistry, waste disposal etc. It’s fine to point it out but when you get to the point of almost making fun of them it’s just a bit mean.
I am randomly reading John Guys book on Thomas beckett, I was interested to see him note they used green hazel shoots to clean their teeth and then polished them with a soft cloth.

Ellie is there any general books on Tudor life you could recommend for me? You always have some little gems to share, and I’d like to read a little more about their everyday life. Even what sort of soap they used lol, I find it fascinating. There’s a set of three books The Tudor Encyclopaedia, I am looking at which were published last year but they cost a mint.

Thank you Laugh indeed I love reading about their everyday lives, it makes it so much more real for me when I read more ‘biographical’ history books.
For books on the lifestyles of women during the Tudor period, I love –

Alison Sim – The Tudor Housewife, 2010.

S. Thurley – The Royal Palaces of Tudor England: Architecture and Court Life, 1993.

Alison Plowden – Tudor Women, 2002.

Christopher Gidlow – Life in a Tudor Palace, 2011

Anything by David Starkey, his Six wives is awesome and very imformative.

Totally agree Ellie If we just generally read what court life was all about we wouldn’t be able to understand what the little people behind the scenes did and how they lived. If it wasn’t for the little people the Nobility would have to make do and mend, cook and clean for themselves. Now that would be one Comedy of Errors I would like to read about. Could you imagine Henry darning his own stockings or scrubbing the kitchen floor?
Although I would like to see Anne give Henry a good drubbing with a mop right round his fat face soap and all.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 23, 2012
11:53 pm
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Olga
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Brilliant Ellie, thank you Smile

Bo what a gorgeous mental picture. I’m going to cherish that one Laugh

August 24, 2012
10:06 pm
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Boleyn
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Every film or book I’ve ever read all say that Tudor nobility always had their babies in a bed.. I do know that there were things called birthing chairs or stools did any of the Nobility use them?

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 25, 2012
1:14 am
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Gill
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No, from what I’ve read they spent most of their labour in bed, but then got out for the actual birth and used a birthing stool, which was a horseshoe or ‘v’ shaped stool. Then they got back in bed for two weeks. Actually giving birth in bed was a much later idea.

August 25, 2012
3:24 pm
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Elliemarianna
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From one of my books “Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Tudor and Stuart England” – Audrey Eccles – 1982:

“The Birth of Mankind recommended that the actual delivery should take place on a birth-stool, which was illustrated and described in detail. It seems the birth-stool was not then familiar to English readers: Jonas said birth-stools were in use ‘in some regions (as in France and Germanye). However according to Willughby the London midwives used them when he lived there a century later, and they were apparently still occasionally used in the eighteenth century.”

“Midwives were urged to handle the genital parts, stretch and dialate them, cut the membranes when they appeared or break them with their nails, urge the patient to go up and down stairs for an hour ‘crying or reaching so loude as she can’, then when sitting in the birth-stool, bear down while the midwife pressed on the belly ‘gently’ to push the child downwards. Many prescriptions were given to affect the course of labour, and the midwife was told to extract the placenta immediately after the birth by pulling on the cord.”

(This is an amazing book by the way, well worth reading if you can find a copy!)

"It is however but Justice, & my Duty to declre that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs..." Jane Austen.

August 25, 2012
3:53 pm
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Olga
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Thanks Ellie, I’ll add it to my list. I’ve just ordered Alison Sim’s Tudor Housewives, and my partner found me a Pleasures and Pastimes of Tudor England by her as well. He’s getting very handy at finding me Tudor books Laugh

August 25, 2012
5:38 pm
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Boleyn
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Ellie you mentioning about a cord reminds me of I believe a native Indian tribe where a woman in Labour goes to a specially prepared shack, tent or whatever to give birth at the side of her is a cord which she is encouraged to pull on to help her to deliver the child. However on the other end of the cord is her husband the cord being tied around his genitals so that when she has a contraction and pulls on this cord it also pulls on his genitals so that he can experience the pain that she feels when giving birth.
I believe that birthing Chairs or stools is actually an easier way for woman to give birth as the use of gravity greatly helps when delivering the child.

I said to Dinosaur a while back that if he ever wants to know what it is like to give birth, he should shove and umbrella up his backside and then open it.
For some reason he turned very white and declined the offer.. I can’t think why? LOL

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 25, 2012
7:03 pm
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Rosie
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Ellie, isn’t it true that pulling the chord too get the placenta out is very dangerous? For my birthday I got ‘Call the Midwife’ by Jennifer something (my memories bad Laugh ) and she said that some people made the mistake of doing that and it nearly proved fatal.

Haha, my mum threw a tens machine at my dad when she was in labour with me! Lols

August 25, 2012
7:19 pm
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Elliemarianna
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RosieMay said

Ellie, isn’t it true that pulling the chord too get the placenta out is very dangerous? For my birthday I got ‘Call the Midwife’ by Jennifer something (my memories bad Laugh ) and she said that some people made the mistake of doing that and it nearly proved fatal.

Haha, my mum threw a tens machine at my dad when she was in labour with me! Lols

Yes it is very dangerous. If the cord is tugged too soon before the uterus has contracted enough to separate the placenta from the uterine wall you could risk only removing the placenta partially or creating internal bleeding via a tear in the uterus. Retained placenta will eventually rot inside the womb and cause infection if not expelled. Infection caused by retained placenta is fatal if not dealt with, so not doubt it was a big cause of death in the Tudor period.

Haha oh dear, I didn’t throw anything at my husband, but my mother came to check up on me and tickled my foot while I was having a contraction (I have no idea why lol!) but I kicked her. I was very apologetic afterwards.

"It is however but Justice, & my Duty to declre that this amiable Woman was entirely innocent of the Crimes with which she was accused, of which her Beauty, her Elegance, & her Sprightliness were sufficient proofs..." Jane Austen.

August 25, 2012
9:16 pm
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Sharon
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Boleyn said

Ellie you mentioning about a cord reminds me of I believe a native Indian tribe where a woman in Labour goes to a specially prepared shack, tent or whatever to give birth at the side of her is a cord which she is encouraged to pull on to help her to deliver the child. However on the other end of the cord is her husband the cord being tied around his genitals so that when she has a contraction and pulls on this cord it also pulls on his genitals so that he can experience the pain that she feels when giving birth.
I believe that birthing Chairs or stools is actually an easier way for woman to give birth as the use of gravity greatly helps when delivering the child.

I said to Dinosaur a while back that if he ever wants to know what it is like to give birth, he should shove and umbrella up his backside and then open it.
For some reason he turned very white and declined the offer.. I can’t think why? LOL

Boleyn,
OWWWWWW!!! I’ve never heard that one before. Native American women used a type of birthing chair.

August 26, 2012
11:45 am
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Tash Wakefield
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birthing stories continued, i had a c section, my husband was holding my hand and there was a curtain up, but he could see the whole thing in the reflection of the surgeons goggles, then after they delivered her, he tripped over a bunch of cords and pulled the heart monitor machine over on top of him. He was so white when he got back from cutting ava’s cord. He told me later that when he went to cut the cord, they were putting the placenta into a plastic bag (they test them all over here for some reason), but the bag split and the placenta burst into a pile of blood on the floor! Poor thing, he never was good with blood…..

I thought that native american thing was a myth. It makes sense tho. Somehow yelling and swearing at them just doesnt seem enough….

August 26, 2012
1:48 pm
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Boleyn
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Tash Wakefield said

birthing stories continued, i had a c section, my husband was holding my hand and there was a curtain up, but he could see the whole thing in the reflection of the surgeons goggles, then after they delivered her, he tripped over a bunch of cords and pulled the heart monitor machine over on top of him. He was so white when he got back from cutting ava’s cord. He told me later that when he went to cut the cord, they were putting the placenta into a plastic bag (they test them all over here for some reason), but the bag split and the placenta burst into a pile of blood on the floor! Poor thing, he never was good with blood…..

I thought that native american thing was a myth. It makes sense tho. Somehow yelling and swearing at them just doesnt seem enough….

Yeah I had a ceaserion with both of mine. Pia my eldest was an emergency so I never got to see her be born, but my youngest I had an epidural so got to see him straight away. It’s funny really woman go through such a lot to give birth but the minute you see your baby and hear that first cry (which is a sound that is something you cannot describe to other people) all the pain etc is forgotten.

I actually wonder what the mindset of the Nobility was when they had babies back then? Did they have that rush of emotions that we get or did they just view the child as yet another mouth to feed, farm out and found a husband/wife for.. Of course the flip side of the coin to that is the “Oh God” feelings in 8 weeks time hubby will want to maul her around again and get her pregnant so he can go back to whoring it about.
There is also the attitude to what the husband will say if they wanted a son and got a girl instead. We know of Henry’s attitude towards Anne when Elizabeth was born.. He wasn’t happy…. But I think a lot of his disappointment was down to sheer pig ignorance and taking forgranted that just because he was convinced that Anne was carrying a boy it was going to be a boy.. But then part of that problem came from the so called soothsayers and cunning woman who told him what he wanted to hear.
Still it could be worse when Caligula’s wife had a girl he called her Drusilla Gaius and told everyone that his wife had bore him a son. Anyone who call little Drusilla a girl in his hearing was executed on the spot.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 27, 2012
4:27 am
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Anyanka
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Guess it depends on the mind set of the father and possibly his parent’s. Those who had come to care about each other would have been concerned about is ladies health as well as that of the child…Those who wanted healthy children and didn’t care about the mother would be less concerned.

It's always bunnies.

August 29, 2012
7:50 pm
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Boleyn
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As we know back in Tudor times woman were believed to be responsible for pre determining the sex of the child, of course we now know different, that the sex of the child is determined by what chromosome the male has in the sperm that fertilises the egg at conception.
Henry also as we know wouldn’t except that he had any faults, as far as he was concerned any faults that he made were always someone else’s fault. How would he feel if he knew what we know now about the sex of a child being pre determined by him and not by KOA or A.B as he believed?
He couldn’t really blame anyone else about it, or could he? I bet he would try though.

Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod

August 30, 2012
12:47 am
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Olga
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I just discovered a new book over on Natalie’s blog, it’s called In Bed With the Tudors: The sex lives of a dynasty from Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I by Amy Licence. of course the title is misleading (because Amberley are pandering idiots but that’s another rant) but it’s about childbirth. Looks really interesting, I’m adding that one to my wishlist.

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