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Old 01-13-2019, 04:38 PM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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When a woman gives birth in westerns, why do they always boil water?

https://www.straightdope.com/columns...ys-boil-water/
Quote:
A doctor, on the other hand, might handle diseased tissue during an autopsy and then proceed to the delivery room, where he’d unwittingly infect the mother.
.

Misses one important and interesting historical point. Puerperal fever became an important issue when doctors started doing assisted delivery training (using forceps), on the bodies of women who had died in public teaching hospitals. Forceps were a relatively new thing, and require practice and training for safe and effective use. As their use became well known, leather/wood/cloth/steel models were built for doctors to practice on.

Then the new innovation of modern medicine: training on real bodies. Demonstrably superior. Only old-fashioned out-of-date doctors didn't use forceps, and only old fogies still used leather models for training.

Then this crazy woo~ woo~ doctor comes along claiming that doctors, using all the most modern technological advances of medicine, are causing the problem....

Last edited by Melbourne; 01-13-2019 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:46 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
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It's to have it on hand, to sterilize any instruments they may use, and also so they have a clean tie for the umbilical cord.

Until WW II and the discovery of antibiotics, in most cases, home births were safer than hospital births, even in developed nations.
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:07 PM
The_Peyote_Coyote The_Peyote_Coyote is offline
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There's a scene in Fredric Brown's novel, Martians, Go Home, where the hero Luke Devereaux is unconscious after an encounter with a Martian. A doctor and an intern respond, but a rather nosy landlady is hampering their work.
The doctor asks her to go some boil water.
The intern asks what they are going to use it for, and the doctor tells him he just said that to get rid of the woman.
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:12 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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It's heard it was to give someone a task to do who may be disruptive to have around to get them out of the way, such as the husband. Also back then boiling water was not necessarily as quick to make as we do today.
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:28 PM
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GreysonCarlisle GreysonCarlisle is offline
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A puppy?!?!
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:44 AM
kambuckta kambuckta is online now
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My understanding was that it was a stock standard request by the midwife/doc to people hanging around the birthing in order to get them out of sight and doing something useful. Of course, sterile water would always be handy to have for cord-cutting and wiping external genitalia after a birth as well.

I've only been present as an observer at one home-birth. And yeah, the attending doc asked me to boil up a big pot about 2 hours before the delivery. So it was well sterile, and well cooled by the time the birthing took place.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:16 AM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is offline
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And hot water is good for a lot of things - its good for making coffee or tea for anyone assisting. Its good for washing up rags as they are needed. It keeps a small house warm and humid if you are going to be giving birth in the cold (you usually don't have a lot of covers),

What it isn't great for is keeping someone out of the way in a small home. It takes maybe ten minutes to draw water and get a fire going under a pot in a stove. You don't watch water boil Neither water or a stove needs to be constantly attended. Anyone who is in the way will be back in fifteen minutes tops and need to go stoke the fire or replenish water maybe every half hour and labor lasts HOURS.
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