A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank
By Randi Hutter Epstein
From a witty, relentlessly inquisitive medical writer, an eye-opening history of pregnancy and birthing joys and debacles. Making and having babies - what it takes to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and deliver - has mystified women and men for the whole of human history. The birth gurus of ancient times told newlyweds that simultaneous orgasms were necessary for conception and that during pregnancy a woman should drink red wine but not too much and have sex but not too frequently. Over the last one hundred years, depending on the latest prevailing advice, women have taken morphine, practiced Lamaze, relied on ultrasound images, sampled fertility drugs, and shopped at sperm banks.
In Get Me Out, the insatiably curious Randi Hutter Epstein journeys through history, fads, and fables, and to the fringe of science, where audacious researchers have gone to extreme measures to get healthy babies out of mothers. Here is an entertaining must-readand an enlightening celebration of human life.
"Starred Review. Engagingly combining wit and wisdom, Epstein traces humanitys relationship and obsession with its own reproduction..." - Booklist
"[A] sharp, sassy history of childbirth.... The authors engaging sarcasm....lends this chronicle a welcome punch and vitality often absent from medical histories. Roll over, Dr. Lamaze, and make room for Epstein's eyebrow-raising history." - Kirkus Reviews
"Writing that pregnancy has always been 'a wonderful blend of custom and science,' Epstein takes us on a delightful romp through past guides that are filled with a whole lot of do-this-but-avoid-that advice. "You've got to be kidding me" will be the reaction to most of it. For instance, on the recommendation of one folk healer, 16th-century French queen Catherine de Medici drank mare's urine and soaked in cow manure in order to get pregnant. The history of childbirth is filled with grief as well as joy, and not all the stories amuse. I shuddered at the descriptions of medieval C-sections, American slaves used as gynecological guinea pigs and the horrific effects of synthetic estrogen given to pregnant women in high doses from the late 1930s to the early '70s. Later, the author raises questions about the moral, legal and medical consequences of the growing -- and little-regulated -- fertility industry." - Washington Post
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Rated of 5
A Must Read
This is a great read. It is most informative and the author has a charming sense of humor. It is extremely well written, shows an immense amount of research and I highly recommend this book to both women and men.
Rated of 5
An Informative and Fun Read
Interesting from a historical, medical and feminine perspective, Epstein covers a wide range of topics yet the read is rather quick and effortless. Well-chosen anecdotes explore everything old wives tales to major discoveries to future advances. Often witty, Epstein strikes a nice balance between journalism, personal essay and medical encyclopedia. She introduces interesting, and in some cases scandalous characters that stick with the reader long after putting down the book.
Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D., is a medical journalist who has written for magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. She lives in New York City with her husband and four children.
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