Posted by doularama | Filed under News
Twilight sleep is a state of finely balanced semi-consciousness. In 1902, doctors in Germany started injecting laboring women with morphine and scopolamine. When combined, these drugs induce a semi-narcotic state which allows women to have the experience of childbirth WITHOUT THE MEMORY OF PAIN. The goal was not anesthesia, but amnesia.
It wasn’t long before this was the popular birthing procedure in the U.S.. The method was said to dull the pain yet women were restrained and strapped to gurneys for their own protection as they thrashed around in bed, freed from their inhibitions by the drugs, but not entirely freed from the pain. Some had their legs clamped in stirrups for hours in order to be ready when the doctor arrived.
The women, while responding somewhat to pain, did not remember it after delivering their babies. They didn’t remember the pain or the actual deliveries.
At the time, the medical consensus was that scopolamin-morphin was without danger to the babies.
This idea would eventually change as the negative side effects of twilight sleep came into the light.
Some of the complications noted were emotional. Removing the mother from the experience of childbirth, leaving her with no memory of the labor or delivery of the child is definitely a side effect.
However, more severely, the drugs had depressive effects on the central nervous systems of the newborns. This resulted in a drowsy baby with a compromised breathing capacity.
As if this wasn’t enough, let’s take another look at the following phrase: the experience of childbirth without the memory of pain. Is this not colossal disrespect!?! Ironically it was the suffragists who rallied for it to become standard procedure throughout the country.
By the mid 1970s, twilight sleep was no longer being used, but the labor and delivery staff of the previous generation had lots of stories to tell while the mothers had none. They just couldn’t remember.
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