Reproduction, birth and women’s health in the 19th century shaped the practice of obstetrics today. One of the biggest changes with wide-reaching consequences has to do with anesthesia, and the use of ether and chloroform to kill pain but also to render the laboring mother unconscious.
Why has the use of anesthetics in labor changed so radically in each succeeding generation?
Jacqueline Wolf, professor of the history of medicine at Ohio University, will provide insight Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Dittrick Museum of Medical History’s Zverina Room, during a lecture titled “From Ether to Epidural: Obstetric Anesthesia in Historic, Medical, and Social Context.”
Wolf explored this topic her book, Deliver Me from Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America (2009). During her lecture, she will share her more recent insights into this intriguing medical conundrum.
The lecture will celebrate the completion of “Childbirth in America, 1840-1940,” a permanent exhibition in the main Dittrick Museum gallery, researched and curated by Catherine Osborn in collaboration with Jim Edmonson and Anna Claspy.