Chapter

Saving Babies and Mothers: Pioneering Efforts to Decrease Infant and Maternal Mortality

Jacqueline H. Wolf

in Silent Victories

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195150698
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865185 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.003.07
 Saving Babies and Mothers: Pioneering Efforts to Decrease Infant and Maternal Mortality

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This chapter examines the efforts of late-19th and early-20th century reformers to lower infant and maternal mortality in the United States. Earlier fatalistic attitudes toward infant and maternal mortality shifted to the view that all premature deaths were inexcusable, prompting assertive state toward setting and maintaining minimal living standards. The chapter focuses in particular on the efforts to lower infant death from diarrhea via dual campaigns, one to encourage mothers to breastfeed and the other to regulate the dairy industry. It also discusses the successful work of home-birth and lying-in dispensaries to lower the maternal mortality rate by providing free obstetric care to the poor and training physicians in the art of obstetrics.

Keywords: maternal mortality; infant mortality; Progressive Era; milk; food safety; breast-feeding; pasteurization; Chicago Health Department; baby-saving campaigns; home birth dispensaries

Chapter.  12731 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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