The position of woman in any civilization is an index of the advancement of that civilization; the position of woman is gauged best by the care given her at the birth of her child. Accordingly, the advances and regressions of civilization are nowhere seen more clearly than in the story of childbirth. Child-bearing has always been accepted among primitive peoples as a natural process, and as such treated with indifference and brutality. At the height of the Egyptian civilization and again at the height of the Greek and Roman civilizations the art of caring for the child-bearing woman was well developed. With the decline of the Greek and Roman civilizations the care of woman deteriorated; for thirteen centuries the practices developed by the Greeks bearing woman was not brought back to its former development until the sixteenth or seventeenth century of our era. The medieval Christians saw in childbirth the result of a carnalsin to be expiated in pain as defined in Genesis III: 16. Accordingly, the treatnient given the childbearing woman was vastly worse than the mere neglect among the primitive peoples. Her sufferings were augmented by the fact that she was no longer a primitive woman, and child-bearing had become more difficult.


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