Author Topic: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?  (Read 11057 times)

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Offline Ortino

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Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« on: August 10, 2005, 11:03:40 AM »
I know that Queen Victoria was one of the first to endorse the use of chloroform, but was it used for childbirth in Russia after it was generally accepted in the late 1870's or even before then? Did Alexandra use it for the birth of her children given her English background?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 07:26:31 PM by Alixz »

ferngully

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2005, 04:18:37 PM »
well religious women don't use anasthetic usually, was alix so religious that she might not use it?
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Offline Martyn

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2005, 04:01:58 AM »
I have yet to find any reference to the use of chloroform with regard to Alix's accouchements, but did find this information about her pregnancies.

In Greg King's book about Alix, 'The Last Empress', he refers to the fact that Alix had a difficult time with the birth of Olga in 1895; the labour was apparently long and agonising lasting for twenty hours.  Olga seems to have suffered no trauma notwithstanding and was a good weight, nearly ten pounds.

Less than six months later she was again pregnant, at the time of the Coronation, the stress of which sadly caused her to miscarry.

In 1897, she had conceived again.  Her pregancy with Tatiana was dificult, with confinement to bed for seven weeks and being obliged to use a wheelchair to get about attendant to it.

Her third pregnancy with Marie was apparently less difficult, but still involving nausea and weakness and the inability to walk any distance......

I can't seem to find any information about the doctors who attended her, or whether chlorofrm was administered......
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Offline Martyn

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2005, 04:13:25 AM »
I did however find this information about the use of chloroform in royal births at that time.....

From Theo Aronson's 'Grandmama of Europe'.....

"A year or two later, when Missy was visiting the Queen at Osborne, Victoria suddenly asked her if she had been given any chloroform during childbirth. The young woman was disconcerted by the question.  Would her grandmother think less of her for having had chloroform?  Was she one of those spartan creatures who disapproved of the easing of pain during childbirth?  Did she, like Carmen Sylva, consider that 'bringing a child into the world was a moment of such poetical rapture that nothing must be allowed to allay the ecstasy of the pain'?

Timidly Marie confessed to having been given just a whiff of chloroform.  She had not been put to sleep, she added defensively; it was simply that the edge of her suffering had been blunted.

Her shamefaced admission was greeted with peals of laughter from the Queen.  'Quite right, my dear, ' said her grandmother.  'I was only given chloroform with my ninth and last baby; it had, alas, not been discovered before, and I assure you my child, I deeply deplore the fact that I had to bring eight children into the world without its precious aid!' "
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AlexP

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2005, 04:40:37 AM »
Quote
I can't seem to find any information about the doctors who attended her, or whether chlorofrm was administered......


Dear Martyn,

Let's engage the kind help of either Hikaru or Belochka, both of whom I believe, have access to the Court Records indicating who would have been the attending physicians (there would have been several) for the Empress.

Prochu vac,  please help us.  I am also interested to know who the attending doctors were...and did Alexandra use the service of a mid-wife or where there actually doctors (and nurses) in attendance, and if so, who were they?

Good question, Martyn.  And then we can learn more about the use of chloroform because if either of these doctors were Professors at the Faculty of Medicine, their thoughts on this subject would have surely been noted.

With all of the best from Shanghai,


A.A.


hikaru

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2005, 05:26:46 AM »
Very famouse professor D.A. Ott consulted her .
Empresse opened super-famouse clinica of professor Ott, so called "ginecological institute" at Vasilievsky Island.
It was mostly modern hospital in the Europe where the most modern equipment were gathered.
I am sure, that  there were Chloroform there.

As for Empresse , not only Otto, consulted her.
It was quite strange, because if she did not want to see the doctor, doctors did not come.

Offline Belochka

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2005, 08:31:37 AM »
Professor Dmitrii Oskarovich Ott was one of two  Lieb-akushera or Obstetricians-in-Ordinary - who attended Alexandra.

The second Obstetrician was N. N. Fenomenov.

The Court was served by a panoply of Russia's finest physicians, surgeons, and other specialists. I have the listing on hand, but this has no relevance to the question under consideration here.

I shall sift through my sources about the use of Chloroform ...  


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Offline Belochka

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2005, 02:36:14 AM »
Professor Ott attended the birth of Alexei on 30 July, 1904. According to Nikolai's own diary entry, the birth process was rapid and Alexandra felt very well.

There is no indication that there was any pain management provided, in the absence of medical records.

It would be unwise to presume that chlorform might have been made available on this occassion.



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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2005, 11:49:03 AM »
When did Dr. Botkin arrive on the Imperial scene?

Was Dr. Botkin and American?

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Offline Ortino

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2005, 08:17:29 PM »
What about for the girls? Did she use it then? I know that the use of chloroform was controversial religiously at the beginning of its use because of the whole concept of "natural birth", but did she have any religious qualms with using it? People are free to post information about the doctors themselves if they want, I'd be interested in learning more about them as well.

Offline Belochka

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2005, 10:58:23 PM »
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When did Dr. Botkin arrive on the Imperial scene?


There were two Dr. Botkins who as Leib-mediki served the Russian Empire.

Sergei Petrovich Botkin (1832-1889) served both Alexander II and Alexander III.

Evgenii Sergeyevich Botkin (1865-1918) served Nikolai II.  from 1909.


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RomanovFan

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2006, 06:27:36 PM »
Why is it that Queen Victoria didn't like babies or small children? Was it because she just didn't like the way they looked and acted or did they just infuriate her? She seemed to be more loving with her 40 grandchildren than she was with her 9 children, especially the younger ones, like Drino and Ena.

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2006, 06:44:42 AM »
Well, for a start, Victoria just wasn't really a maternal woman. She preferred her children when they were older, and had their own personalities (out of the 'frog' stage ;D). Remember, she was only 21 when her first child was born, still more or less a child herself! And she sort of resented the arrival of her children - she felt they interfered with her relationship with Albert. To her, the whole process of giving birth was very 'animal' and made her feel like a cow or something. By the time her grandchildren arrived though, she was older (and since she didn't have to do the actual giving birth, she didn't resent them). A lot of unaffectionate parents make affectionate grandparents.
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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2006, 07:43:20 AM »
Victoria hated being pregnant, for starters, because it interrupted her sex life, as well as making everything inconvenient, especially as she suffered from morning sickness.

She did think babies were ugly; she said that about all of her children.  As Liam has quite rightly said, Victoria preferred her children when she could have conversations with them and they had become people with personalities rather than babbling babies.

I don't believe Victoria was particularly maternal; she became a mother at a very young age and she found being pregnant and breast feeding and such very undignified and animal like.  She seems to have become much more affectionate however once her children had flown the nest, as is seen in the absolutely massive volumes of letters she wrote to Vicky and Alice and her other daughters. She did love her children, but I just don't think she found it easy to show it.  

I think you've got to be careful not to judge Victoria from modern day standards.  Nowadays parenting is all about breastfeeding, co sleeping, allowing your children to be fully a part of your life and have adult conversations with you as soon as they can talk and so on.  In those days IN THE UPPER CLASSES children were to be seen and not heard, and they were looked after by nannies. Mothers were not expected to have a direct role in their children's upbringing and they were much more distant figures.  Victoria must have liked children to some extent because as David Duff says in Hessian Tapestry, one reason why Victoria was so upset about Albert's death was because she wouldn't be able to have any more children.  I just think she didn't really become a mother in the sense we know until her children were old enough to appreciate her as a person rather than as a provider if you know what I mean.

Rachel
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Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: Did Women of This Era Use Chloroform in Child Birth?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2006, 10:28:16 AM »
Yes, I think she loved her children, but simply didn't like having them, it was inconeveniant, ( well, nine kids is alot)! And there were so many of them, and she was pretty young, as well. She may not have liked young kids for the reasons some do today, and although she didn't, nor was she expected to care for them herself, it was even more inconveniant to take care of kids back then then today. That era also had different standards of child rearing and behaviour today, even more so among the upper class, and royalty. She did love them, and did care for her grandchildren, when they were more grown up, and had personalities, thereby showing her maturity in appreciating children when they are what they were born to be, individuals.  She could really relate to them then, and care about them. So her relationship with her children, and later grand children, was better than if she just regarded them as offspring, to be provided for.

Perhaps it was personal as well, some people prefer children who are older, even grown, and that's the only reason they have children. I don't like young kids, but I would have one child, so that when they are older, they are a true individual to me, and it's not just a provider role. Other than that, I woudn't bother having children. Perhaps Queen Victoria's attitude was a bit like that, although in that era, it was common, and hard to avoid having lots of kids. The reasons Rachel put seem very valid to me.