We’ve come a long way, baby!
Chloroform is first used as anesthesia for labor by Scottish OB Sir James Young Simpson.
First modern C-section is performed by German gynecologist Ferdinand Adolf Kehrer. (Roman C-sections took place at least as early as 715 B.C., but the mothers didn’t survive.)
French OB Adolphe Pinard invents the “Pinard horn,” a trumpet-shaped stethoscope made for listening to a fetus while in the womb.
Lane Bryant sells the first maternity clothes from her shop on Fifth Avenue.
In Nazi Germany, law permits abortions for those deemed “hereditarily ill,” while banning abortions for Aryan women.
First use of epidural for labor, although the method didn’t become popular until about 1980.
Oxytocin hormone is synthesized for medical use. (Now sold under the name Pitocin for inducing labor.)
Thalidomide is introduced as a cure for morning sickness.
The birth control pill becomes available in the U.S.
Elisabeth Bing (pictured) and Marjorie Karmel become the first individuals to teach the Lamaze method in the U.S.
Invention of first handheld ultrasound scanner, the Porta-arm.
Surgeon General’s report concludes that smoking causes cancer. At the time, about half of all U.S. men and a third of U.S. women smoked.
Dr. Robert A. Bradley publishes Husband-Coached Childbirth to promote his natural birthing method.
Roe v. Wade puts a spotlight on the abortion controversy.
First edition of Prenatal Yoga and Natural Childbirth is published by Jeannine Parvati Baker.
e.p.t. creates the first home pregnancy test kit.
First successful birth as a result of IVF.
U.S. Surgeon General issues a warning that drinking alcohol during pregnancy could cause birth defects.
Rebecca Matthias begins a maternity catalog business, which, over time, evolves into Destination Maternity Corporation.
First publication of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
3D ultrasound technology is developed at Duke University.
Demi Moore appears nude (and pregnant) on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Birth of Pregnancy & Newborn!
Two documentaries, Orgasmic Birth and Ricki Lake’s The Business of Being Born, expose American birth practices and encourage birth without medical intervention.
Robert G. Edwards is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his development of natural cycle IVF.