10 Facts You Never Knew About Babies and Pregnancy Throughout History
You'll thank your lucky stars that we live in this day of modern science and technology after reading how people in the past dealt with babies and pregnancy. We've come a long way, baby.
How to confirm a pregnancy
Long before you could pee on a stick ancient Egyptian women urinated into bags filled with wheat and barley. It was believed that if a specific type of grain later sprouted out of the bag the woman was pregnant!
On getting babies to sleep
In the 19th century “Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup” was sold in great quantities to help babies sleep. The product did make babies sleep, but only because the active ingredient was morphine! This very dangerous syrup remained popular until 1911 when the American Medical Association came out against it.
On curing a little one’s cough
Even more shocking was a product introduced by Bayer in 1899 called Bayer Heroin (yes, that heroin), which was said to quiet children’s coughs. Not surprisingly, the FDA banned it in 1924.
Native American tribes often used rabbit skins stuffed with grass to create a diaper-like cover for their babies.
On cleaning your baby
In Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries parents rarely bathed their babies after they soiled themselves. The thinking was that urine acted as a disinfectant and kept babies healthy!
On rights for mothers
In Roman times infant mortality was so high that if a woman gave birth to three live babies, the government recognized her as legally independent. In those patriarchal times this was pretty much the only way a woman could live free of male control.
On the benefits of cigarettes
It’s hard to believe, but as recently as the 1950s tobacco companies ran ads (endorsed by physicians no less) that suggested smoking was good for pregnant women because it was so relaxing.
On how to make cute kids
Up until the 19th century people took it as fact that if a pregnant woman laid eyes upon someone or something unattractive, her child might turn unattractive in utero!
On how kids end up smelly
In the 15th century it was believed that if a man’s feet were dirty during the act of conception, a baby would be born plagued by bad breath!
On pain during childbirth
In colonial America women didn’t receive painkillers because pain during delivery was considered God’s punishment for Eve’s eating the forbidden fruit!
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN