Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank


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This item:Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein M.D. “Randi Hutter Epstein’s book is full of delightful―and sometimes disturbing―anecdotes.”. Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D., M.P.H., the author of Aroused and Get. Editorial Reviews. From Booklist. *Starred Review* Medical journalist Epstein notes that Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm We get a personal glimpse of sperm bank proprietor Dr. Cappy Rothman.

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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention birth women medical epstein midwives pregnant interested babies modern mothers fascinating today early present randi child birthing giving facts mother. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. This book takes you through what women have endured throughout history to deliver a baby. That does not diminish the facts. Childbirth is a painful but wonderful miracle! As a woman who has borne children, raised them and now enjoy grandchildren I found this to be an interesting read and if you read it expect to feel a variety of emotions.

What if we view history not by the rise and fall of empires, but through the everyday experience of childbirth through time? This is the story told in "Get Me Out: Witty and entertaining, the book is also encyclopedic in scope. It passes muster as a work of medical history, and at the same time, provides practical information that new mothers will find valuable.

To get pregnant, Catherine de Medici, France's sixteenth-century queen, was advised to drink mare's urine, and to soak her privates in cow manure and ground stag's antlers. In nineteenth century New York, post-partum women aired out their genitals on the hospital rooftop, high above Manhattan. The book abounds with fascinating characters. We meet England's Chamberlen family, who for years beginning in the 's, were renowned for their ability to safely deliver babies thanks to a secret family tool--forceps.

In pre-Civil War United States, surgeon Marion Sims took ten postpartum slave women into his backyard, and by gruesome experimentation on their genitals, cured one of childbirth's most horrible side effects--vaginal rips that caused women to leak urine and feces, and to thus be outcast for the rest of their lives.

Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank

This disabling postpartum condition is still common in developing countries, but no longer exists in the west, thanks to the anonymous slave women, and to Dr. We meet Berkeley mom and activist Pat Cody, who took on the powerful drug companies that manufactured DES diethylstilbestrol , a synthetic hormone given to millions of women as a pregnancy enhancer, but which instead caused cancer and birth defects for children exposed in utero. We get a personal glimpse of sperm bank proprietor Dr.

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Cappy Rothman, who lives in a home decorated with penis sculptures, and whose California Cryobank has a masturbatorium wallpapered with porn. The quest for healthier, pain free childbirth is one of the book's many storylines. In the Garden of Eden, Eve cheated on her diet with an apple, as the author's version of the tale goes. In this manner, the first woman incurred the sentence of painful childbirth for all women. Virtue and painful childbirth were so synonymous that in Scotland, Eufame Maclayne was burned at the stake for requesting pain relief while birthing twins.

Only in the early 's did pain relief in childbirth become socially acceptable, reflecting a time when women discarded their corsets and danced without chaperones. Lithuanian immigrant Lane Bryant nee Lina Himmelstein started the first line of maternity wear. Backlash begat the freebirthers movement, and later, Lamaze. In the 's, X-rays were a routine part of prenatal exams. Even after fetal X-ray exposure was linked to leukemia in , prenatal X-rays continued for another 20 years.

Hutter-Epstein uses the example of X-rays to provide a context for the widespread use of prenatal ultrasounds today.

A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank

These women were horribly maimed and abused because of their race, and lower class standings, yet it is because of this abuse that countless women have been able to heal from injuries that were once considered debilitating. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. 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. A History of Mind-Body Medicine. This book is super entertaining. Lithuanian immigrant Lane Bryant nee Lina Himmelstein started the first line of maternity wear. A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank is full of delightful — and sometimes disturbing — anecdotes like this one.

Several storylines could have been better developed. But altogether, this is a commendable book, readable yet rigorous, written by a woman with the unusual qualifications of medical journalist, an editor of the Yale Journal of Humanities and Medicine, and also, a mother of four. It was a well written and educational book about childbirth and how things have evolved and continue to evolve. It was done in a fun way with language that was easy to understand and less like a medical text book.

Really great, relatively objective medical overview of the history of childbirth.

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An interesting read for anyone interested in the ways that childbirth practices have shaped the way we talk about women and babies. Accessible to laymen, but also useful for my dissertation! When I was pregnant with my 2nd child I heard this author in an interview on the radio and was very interested in the book. She is a Dr, but she doesn't shy away from shining a light on some of the mistakes the medical community has made in the past. I recommended it to my midwife and she loved it, but you don't have to speak medicalese to understand this book.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in child birth, either their own or anyone eles. One person found this helpful. Usually, though, I actually rather like the books that are written for a non-expert audience on the topic. Not so this one.

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While there is valuable information for those who know nothing about childbirth, perhaps particularly in the later chapters about there are also extremely historically problematic aspects, and a consistently obnoxious voice. For example, the first sentence: When I got to this line, "Birth from antiquity through the Middle Ages was an all-girls affair orchestrated by men who had never seen a baby born 5 " I decided this would be a book to skim, rather than really read.

I'm not usually not at all up-in-arms about the word "girls" for women, but in this context, it struck me as belittling--an unsuccessful attempt at a light-hearted writing style. Jan 19, Brenda rated it really liked it. Very interesting history of childbirth; fascinating that for thousands of years, women controlled the process, primitive as it was.

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Men got involved in the 18th century and that's when childbirth became really scary. Forceps, broken pelvises, terrible drugs all in the name of medical science. Wouldn't recommend this for the faint of heart. Dec 03, jess rated it really liked it Shelves: I picked this up because I read a few times that it is comparable to Mary Roach 's work, which I really like. And it's about childbirth through the ages, which is weird and interesting. The format is similar to Roach's books, and the style has a similar sense of humor although not quite as hilarious as Roach.

It's a good fit for those who like accessible, cheeky reviews of a wide range of scientific literature, both historic and modern. I was concerned that a book about women's birth experiences I picked this up because I read a few times that it is comparable to Mary Roach 's work, which I really like. I was concerned that a book about women's birth experiences written by a woman might come across as one-sided, but Epstein provides a balanced portrayal while not holding back on the bungling idiocy of the men who have tried to control childbirth over the years.

Her characterizations of these guys brought the subject matter to life - especially her writing on Cappy Rothman, founder of California Cryobank and a real lover of sperm. At the end of the day, this is not a book about women's birth experiences so much as it is about humanity, hubris and all the uncertainty that goes into making a baby which leads, many times, into a far more uncertain and frightening journey, called Parenting.

Marion Sims comes up several times, both for "contributions to gynecology" horrifying years of experiments on slave women and his prescient views on the future of reproductive medicine. He sounds like one of the more evil figures in history. I know a little bit about a lot of these subjects, but J.

Marion Sims blew my mind. And yes, I am paying a week of fines on this. View all 3 comments. Mar 04, Mieke Mcbride rated it really liked it. You're having a baby-- so fascinating to read the history of childbirth, especially recent medicalization trends. If you're squeamish, maybe skip the section on difficult births pre-forceps, because that was pretty nightmarish. But interesting to hear how one family kept forceps a secret for decades. You love Mary Roach but wish her books weren't as funny. This is why this book is 4 stars, not 5.

I just wish Mary Roach had written it. Roach has sp Really interesting book. Roach has spoiled me with her science writing, and I wanted this book to be less serious and more amusing. Like Roach, Epstein covers a wide spectrum of subjects related to childbirth. She also doesn't shy away from really problematic origins of modern day birthing techniques such as doctors testing risky procedures on slaves in s America. You enjoyed the historical parts of the Business of Being Born.

Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden is on sale!

I just watched this documentary last night and ended up rolling my eyes through most of it. Ugh, the armchair theorizing that the problem with society today is too many epidurals which block oxytocin and make it so moms don't love their babies But there were interesting scenes talking about the history of births in hospitals-- all which are much better described in this book.

For example, the trend of using drugs to make it so women didn't remember anything from birth but also had to be strapped down because the drugs blocked inhibitions. Also great discussion in this book of the shift from midwives to doctors. Mar 15, Robyn rated it it was amazing. This book is super entertaining. The author is a journalist so it's written for a popular audience. And this book is crazy. I keep getting up to read parts of it to my husband. It's like, "I can't believe they used to do that! It's not scary; if anything, it makes me glad I'm giving birth in There's some parts that are a bit horrifying, like the way things used to be done, but I think it's oka This book is super entertaining.

There's some parts that are a bit horrifying, like the way things used to be done, but I think it's okay.

Get Me Out A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank

I also feel it's valuable to read as I think about giving birth for the first time, to feel informed in a certain way I guess. The author says in the beginning that this book is not intended necessarily to help you make decisions about how you want to deliver, but The author does a really good job of contextualizing all these different practices so that they make sense and seem logical.

She also frames today's childbirth practices in the U. There's always things you can't control. She also provides really good commentary. I'd be in the middle of a crazy chapter and be like "I have to finish this to get to where she contextualizes all this and makes me feel okay about it. Dec 11, Jodi Shelley rated it it was amazing Shelves: It shows us how the way we give birth over the years has been just as much related to the cultural times we live in as any actual medical advances made. The ways women have given birth and the things we've asked for to help us along the way are at times amazing and shocking.

The most interesting revelation is in the fact that feminist women have at the same time demanded pain-free birth as well as the freedom to birth without drugs. Speaking once again to the in Amazingly non-boring non-fiction. Speaking once again to the incredibly personal nature of birth. If nothing else, it reminded me that the women's movement has helped give us freedom over the choices in how we want to have a birth. It shows the shift from birth being in the realm of women midwives, friends, community women to slowly slipping into the realm of medical doctors who knew very little about gynecology in the early days some weren't even allowed to actually LOOK at a vagina and were always men women weren't allowed to become doctors for a long time.

The science, the gadgets, the culture of birth are cracked wide open. And she does it all without being boring in the slightest!

Get Me Out | W. W. Norton & Company

Oct 06, Kellie rated it really liked it. An interesting book and a very quick read on a variety of historical pregnancy and birth topics. I had already heard about some of the topics discussed but it wasn't boring in the least. One of the more engaging aspects of the book was thinking about some of these topics in the context of women and minority rights and class. The use of painkillers and twilight sleep as a woman's right to have the childbirth she wants and have a say in her medical care.

The idea that upper class women were too fr An interesting book and a very quick read on a variety of historical pregnancy and birth topics. The idea that upper class women were too frail to have natural vaginal births due to a delicate physical and mental constitution. For my own future remembrance: Pregnancy and childbirth are topics that are bound to bring out some strong opinions and preferences. The ways in which the conversations and debates play out are largely reflections of our sociocultural expectations and hopes, and these in turn are affected by our particular place in history.

Epstein takes a journey back in time to explore many trends, advancements, and controversies surrounding pregnancy and childbirth that have helped bring us to where we find ourselves today. Each chapter is Pregnancy and childbirth are topics that are bound to bring out some strong opinions and preferences. Each chapter is dedicated to one topic and these range from twilight sleep and Lamaze to DES and sperm banks.

This is an easy read and ideal for someone just embarking on this study. It provides brief and basic histories for these various issues. My one major critique would be that it is very heavily focused on Western cultural perceptions of pregnancy and birth. There are no mentions outside of Europe and the United States.

May 19, Amanda rated it liked it Shelves: Chad called me a masochist for reading it after giving birth, but it kind of made me feel better about my experience compared to the short history of Western birth that Epstein provides. The writing was a little clunky at times and the facts were at times repetitive perhaps many of the chapters began as individual essays? Mar 09, Kaedberg rated it liked it. I was slightly disappointed in this book.

The title is very misleading. It should be more like "A brief look at a small handful of trends that happened sometime between Eden and the Sperm Bank. Although what it did cover was interesting and written with a sense of humor. It covered a lot of American trends and what I would like to read more about are the practices and history of childbirth in a wider cultural sense. Jul 14, Jenna Van Volkenburgh rated it liked it. This book is simply okay. It was an interesting look for childbirth, but didn't go very deep on ethics of the history of childbirth, besides the section on cruelty of slaves.

Well written, could have been better different. Jul 09, Laura Cobrinik rated it it was amazing. A History of Childhood" is a book which every woman should be required to read, not just those who are pregnant. It begins describing the "hysterical women" of the Victorian age, and to the present where women are required to leave the hospital as soon as The first book by Randi Hutter Epstein, "Get Me Out: It begins describing the "hysterical women" of the Victorian age, and to the present where women are required to leave the hospital as soon as 24 hours after their delivery.

Aug 24, Tammy Buchli rated it liked it. I enjoyed this brief history of childbirth. It seemed to striving for a Mary Roach style treatment of the material and almost achieved it, although the author doesn't have quite Roach's talent for science writing that is both funny and poignant. The major disappointment was the editing, though. I caught 3 incorrect dates - and we all know that editing errors are like cockroaches: This book would have gotten 4 stars from me if it had been pro I enjoyed this brief history of childbirth.

This book would have gotten 4 stars from me if it had been properly edited. This book takes you through what women have endured throughout history to deliver a baby. That does not diminish the facts. Childbirth is a painful but wonderful miracle!

As a woman who has borne children, raised them and now enjoy grandchildren I found this to be an interesting read and if you read it expect to feel a variety of emotions. Sep 10, Patricia Kitto rated it liked it. I enjoyed learning about the history of childbirth and modern fertility treatments. It was an easy and quick read - not too scholarly i. Since it was written in , it left we wondering what new advancements have been realized since then I would've loved an addendum addressing them!

I wouldn't recommend this book to pregnant women however as some of the descriptions are a bit harrowing if you were soon to be in labor! Jul 26, Angela rated it did not like it Shelves: DNF somewhere around chapter 4ish. Not very serious, and mostly focused on the last years but not midwives , this one was not for me.