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Retro Pregnancy Advice: 1960s | 1970s | 1980s

Updated on February 26, 2008

Pregnancy Trends Come and Go, But Bad Advice Never Goes Out of Style

Think pregnant women are on the receiving end of a lot of bad advice today? That's nothing new. Moms-to-be have always been magnets for wacky advice from friends, relatives, doctors, nurses, and well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning strangers. Here's a quick snapshot of some of the advice moms have received in pregnancy and parenting advice books over the past 50 years.

What Do Mothers Know About Having Babies Anyway?

"Once your friends and relatives become aware of the fact that you are pregnant, you will be the recipient of all sorts of advice and suggestions from them. While this advice will be offered with the best of intentions and from the kindliest of motives, pay no attention to it at all. No matter how many babies your Aunt Minnie had, this has no bearing on you nor does it establish her as an authority. It is often difficult not to listen, but you should politely indicate that you get your advice from your doctor. Listening to the horrendous tales of your friends' obstetrical experiences is apt to be an upsetting pastime."

- Frederick H. Goodrich, Preparing for Childbirth: A Manual for Expectant Parents. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1967.

Obstetrical Time Machine

"In simpler times, an aura of security and even sanctity surrounded the physician and instilled in his patients great confidence in his authority, optimism about his treatment, and a bond of mutual respect born of having lived through moments of stress together. This era encouraged the physician to be authoritative and even paternalistic in his relations with his patients, for all too often he saw this demeanor as a critical means of psycho-emotional support when the treatment offered had pragmatic evidence of value only, without substantial scientific support. In the sophisticated urban and suburban society that is now the environment in which most of our population lives and works, this security about health matters is needed more than ever, but it can no longer be derived solely from the physician's image as a healer. Even the obstetrician who was more frequently the object of devotion and love of his patients because he shared with them and supported them in the highest expression of their femininity, the dramatic, romantic moment of childbirth, has found himself cast more often now in the role of teacher than of medicine man."

- Sheldon H. Cherry, MD. Understanding Pregnancy and Childbirth. New York, Bantam Books, 1983.

Motherhood Never Goes Out of Style - Retro Motherhood Finds

Check out these vintage pieces of mom and baby ephemera which I found listed at Etsy.com -- a fun place to scout for vintage and retro motherhood collectibles, from the antique to the atomic era.

Note: A few of the items listed below come from my own tiny little corner of Etsy.

Labor? What Labor?

"Some mothers wish to be conscious when the baby is born while others prefer to have an anesthetic. Whether or not an anesthetic is necessary and what kind of anesthetic are things your doctor will decide. Your safety and that of your baby are his responsibility. You should discuss this matter with him ahead of time so you will know what to expect."

- The Canadian Mother and Child. Ottawa: Department of National Health and Welfare Canada, 3rd edition, 4th printing, 1970. (Book was rewritten in 1967)

Don't Forget About Hubby....

"Just make sure that, from now on, he always has a sufficient supply of clean laundry to see him through your absence. And if he's going to be home alone, stock the larder now with the kinds of foods he's able to manage."

- Marcia Morton. Pregnancy Notebook: A Month-by-Month Guide Covering All Those Non-Medical Things the Doctor Doesn't Tell You. New York: Workman Publishing Inc., 1972.

Think You Know Your Mama(s)? Test Your Knowledge Here - by Ann Douglas

A retro motherhood quiz -- just in time for Mother's Day. Prepared by bestselling pregnancy and parenting author, Ann Douglas.

Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to improve this lens.

Any Advice to Share? - On this lens, of course....

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      jgelien 6 years ago

      I am eternally thankful I did not have any babies earlier than 1985. That bit about the husband's clothing being clean and the larder stocked is particularly annoying. Interesting lens to read though.

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      sage7 6 years ago

      Very nice info but do you know how to get pregnant fast? :-)

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      Sleep_Soundly 8 years ago

      Read and share your review on Personal Path To Pregnancy and many other Womens Health Related Ebooks here.

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      anndouglas 9 years ago

      Your wish is my command, Rusty. I've brought in some fab stuff from Flickr. Enjoy!

    • Rusty Quill profile image

      Rusty Quill 9 years ago

      Great idea for a lens - I'd love to see even more bad, err I mean vintage advice. =) Although having an ample supply of clean laundry would be nice... ;)