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Silent VictoriesThe History and Practice of Public Health in Twentieth Century America$
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John W. Ward and Christian Warren

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.001.0001

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Saving Babies and Mothers: Pioneering Efforts to Decrease Infant and Maternal Mortality

Saving Babies and Mothers: Pioneering Efforts to Decrease Infant and Maternal Mortality

Chapter:
(p.135) 7 Saving Babies and Mothers: Pioneering Efforts to Decrease Infant and Maternal Mortality
Source:
Silent Victories
Author(s):

Jacqueline H. Wolf

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.003.07

This chapter examines the efforts of late-19th and early-20th century reformers to lower infant and maternal mortality in the United States. Earlier fatalistic attitudes toward infant and maternal mortality shifted to the view that all premature deaths were inexcusable, prompting assertive state toward setting and maintaining minimal living standards. The chapter focuses in particular on the efforts to lower infant death from diarrhea via dual campaigns, one to encourage mothers to breastfeed and the other to regulate the dairy industry. It also discusses the successful work of home-birth and lying-in dispensaries to lower the maternal mortality rate by providing free obstetric care to the poor and training physicians in the art of obstetrics.

Keywords:   maternal mortality, infant mortality, Progressive Era, milk, food safety, breast-feeding, pasteurization, Chicago Health Department, baby-saving campaigns, home birth dispensaries

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