Wednesday, June 04, 2008
In this excerpt from a book-in-progress, Faith Gibson describes working as a L&D nurse in a segregated maternity ward in the South. She contrasts the care that white and black mothers received. Ironically, black mothers and babies fared much better because the institutional "neglect" allowed them to have physiological births with very little disturbance or management. From the early 1900s and well into the 1970s, the standard of care for white mothers in this hospital included separation from family members, enema & shave, confinement to bed, heavy use of narcotics and Scopolamine during labor and general anesthesia during the birth, episiotomy and forceps delivery, and separation of mother and newborn.