Prenatal Care in Early 20th Century Kansas

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Prenatal care is an important part of insuring the wellness of a baby. In the early 20th century, prenatal care was just starting to become an emphasized area of health for women. High infant mortality rates were starting to raise questions as to what could be done to help protect the fetus and insure a healthy childbirth and baby. Kansas attempted to raise awareness of the importance of prenatal care to the general public starting in the early 1900s with “The Kansas Mother’s Manual.” Many women in Kansas followed the guidelines issued within the handbooks, lectures, and posters. Yet, the women in the Southeast Kansas coal mining towns were disadvantaged when it came to prenatal care and childbirth. Infant mortality rates were quite high among the area. In order to understand the reasoning for such high mortality rates, a further examination of prenatal care in the area of Southeast Kansas needs to occur. In the early 1900s, women of the Southeast Kansas coal mining communities lacked prenatal care, which likely contributed to the high infant mortality rate of the area. Prenatal care, as determined by the Kansas State Board of Health, is broken up into many sections, in which each should receive proper care: medical care, dental care, nursing care, and household help. These ideas are then broken down into further subtopics including diet, exercise, marital relations, clothing, hygiene and general care of the pregnant mother. These things are very important to the health of the woman and fetus. According to the Kansas State Board of Health, “. . . , the comfort of the family and the mother should be anticipated and arranged for in advance, and the health of the mother should be safe-guarded at every step of the way. To do les... ... middle of paper ... ... Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999. This article gives insight into the life of a midwife. ——. "Martha Moore Ballard and the Medical Challenge to Midwifery." In Sickness and Health in America: Readings in the History of Medicine and Public Health, edited by Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald L. Numbers, 72-83. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997. This article gives insight to the midwife, Martha Ballard. Women and Health in America, edited by Judith Walzer Leavitt. 2nd ed. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999. This book provided several articles about midwifery. Yurchenco, Henrietta. "Trouble in the Mines: A History in Song and Story by Women of Appalachia." American Music 9, no. 2 (Summer 1991): 209-224. This article is about the hardships of the miners' wives in the mining towns.

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