I came across this tome of wisdom recently and couldn't resist purchasing it. Written by Nicholson J. Eastman, M.D., in 1940, this fourth edition was published in 1963, the year after I was born. So I wanted to know what kind of advice my mother received from the medical community. Lousy advice, that's what she received. Poor woman!
Smoking, Baby, Smoking!
In 1964, more than half of American men and a third of American women were habitual smokers. So does Dr. Eastman recommend smoking or not? I rushed to find the passage and here it is:
Current interest in the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, quite apart from pregnancy, has stirred new concern over the possible bearing of smoking by pregnant women on the well-being of the infant. As a result of extensive studies on the question, it seems clear that the newborn of mothers who smoke tend to weigh slightly less than those of mothers who do not smoke.
Well, well Dr. Eastman, very impressive! We expect nothing less from a Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University. He really goes out on a limb and risks the ire of the powerful tobacco industry by referring to lower birth weight in infants.
Alas, I turn the page and darn it all, Eastman blows it with his final word on the subject:
But whether this lower birth weight indicates an injurious effect has not been established. Regardless of these findings, most physicians recommend that smoking should be curtailed in pregnancy to ten cigarettes or less a day.
More Pearls of Wisdom
On morning sickness: "Nausea is often psychic in origin."
On appropriate attire during pregnancy: "The most important consideration in regard to the expectant mother's wardrobe is that it should be attractive."
On diet: "Substitute saccharine for sugar, not only in coffee and tea but in cereals and fruits, and limit caloric intake to 1900 calories a day."
On insomnia: "Not a few women require a mild sedative now and then in the last few weeks of pregnancy, but this should be taken only on the advice of your physician."
Ha! If only!
I think this book would be a charming gift for a future OB/Gyn, a pregnant friend or a grandmother-to-be. Now available in the shop.