Originally Posted by prosciencemum
Even if the UK (and I assume also the USA and other developed countries) certain demographics would have those conditions. Even 40 years ago I suspect.
There's a great show called "Call the Midwife" on BBC which shows conditions near the docks in London in the 1950s. The midwives were trying hard, but conditions were not good. I recommend the show, not just for that reason.
The series was shown in the US on PBS and may still be available to view online. I highly recommend it, it really depicted the wonder of birth, and the amazing work of those British midwives who took care of the women and babies. The series begins in 1957 and goes to the early 1960s, so it was actually 50 years ago not 40 as PSM says. The series is based on the memoirs of midwife Jennifer Worth. Yes, the conditions in the East End of London post-war were poor for many, London at the time was still recovering from the war and was still littered with bomb sites, but I don't think it was that dire for most; rationing was over and the National Health Service was in place. Interestingly, my grandparents lived in Poplar before the war, the area of London where the program takes place, and my mother and all of my aunts and uncles were born there, not sure if any were born at home, I know my mother was born at The London Hospital* which is located in nearby Whitechapel and would likely have been the hospital that the midwives would have used for a transfer. My grandparents were however, relatively well-off; my grandfather owned a transportation business.
What is interesting to me is the lack of fear mongering about infectious disease, I have only watched the first series so far, and not a mention of measles , diphtheria, whooping cough etc. You would think if this were a major issue, and children were dropping like flies with these diseases, especially around the newborns, then Jennifer Worth would have included that in her book. Incidentally, there were a total of 96 deaths from measles in the UK in 1957, it was likely Jennifer Worth did not come across any in the population of women and children she served.
* This was the hospital that Grantly Dick-Reed, author of Childbirth Without Fear worked. He was practicing there during the time my mother was born and I often wonder if he delivered her. It would be nice to think so.