Get Me Out

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A book review of Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from The Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D.

A book review of Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from The Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank by Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D.

Stars: ****

W. W. Norton & Company (2011)
Health/Obstetrics & Gynecology
352 pages

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: Making and having babies—what it takes to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and deliver—has mystified women and men for the whole of human history. The birth gurus of ancient times told newlyweds that simultaneous orgasms were necessary for conception and that during pregnancy a woman should drink red wine but not too much and have sex but not too frequently. Over the last one hundred years, depending on the latest prevailing advice, women have taken morphine, practiced Lamaze, relied on ultrasound images, sampled fertility drugs, and shopped at sperm banks.

Get Me Out

I bought this book from Amazon because it sounded interesting. I’ve given birth four times and I’ve read about it a lot before and after. However it was still interesting to read. This book gives a different perspective than many other books. This is not a how to give birth book. This is a cultural history. It’s not boring in any way though.

Topics Covered

The book starts with talk about early childbirth from the Middle Ages to 1899. Warning: This section is a little scary. I am so glad I wasn’t giving birth back then.

Part Two covers the twentieth century. It covers reducing maternal mortality (moms dying in childbirth), the move from home births to hospital births and early pain relievers (which were not what they seemed.)

The next part talks about Freudian views on fertility and childbirth, Lamaze and his concepts and other doctors and their ideas on childbirth. Also DES is talked about which if you don’t know is a drug that was given to prevent miscarriages but which ended up causing cancer in the babies that were born while their mothers were using it. The cancers didn’t develop until they were teens or older so it took a while for the cause to be found. Many became infertile.

The next two parts cover c-sections, freebirthers and 3-D ultrasounds and then sperm donors and embryo freezing.

Final Thoughts

It was all very interesting and I’m glad I bought the book. It certainly made the births I went through seem easy as pie in comparison. We’ve come a long way.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.