“Born Like a Lamb”

Yi-Li Wu

in Reproducing Women

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780520260689
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947610 | DOI:
“Born Like a Lamb”

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Zhang Baohua's wife had a problem in giving birth; she had a condition wherein she went through several excruciating days of pain before she finally gave birth to a baby who eventually died after about a week. Pregnant again, Mrs. Zhang went into labor in the eight month of pregnancy; the Zhang family decided to get an urgent appeal to Ye Feng, a medical expert, who eventually decided that Mrs. Zhang had been misdiagnosed. Then, he started administering medicine to Mrs. Zhang to stabilize the fetus and he forbade anyone to disturb her. After a little while Mrs. Zhang successfully delivered a baby. This chapter shows that the medical legitimacy of easy childbirth owed much to the fact that it essentially crystallized a set of optimistic perspectives that had become increasingly salient in late imperial doctors' views of childbirth.

Keywords: childbirth; pregnancy; medical legitimacy; birth; medicine

Chapter.  18068 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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