Full text: Problems in eugenics

Exhibit C 48.*9 
much more frequent operative interference with good results for 
mother and child. Both these facts find expression in the reduction 
of the number of stillbirths. The purpose of these operations being 
to assist a diminished birth capacity in women, and this diminished 
capacity arising partly from constitutional and consequently 
hereditary factors, this question suggests itself : Is the average birth 
capacity of women progressively diminished by the fact that an 
increasing number of women, more or less unfit for childbirth, are 
artificially assisted in bringing forth living children who inherit this 
weakness from the mother? ” 
“ Our table attempts to answer this question on the basis of 
official Midwifery Statistics compiled in the Grand Duchy of Baden 
reaching back to 1871, that is the beginning of the antiseptic era. 
“To avoid the errors1, which small figures might lead to, each 
calculation has been based on the average figures of a lengthy 
period. The material dealt with comprises over two mill’on 
births.” “ Figure 1 shows the increasing frequency of all childbirth 
operations taken together. The period 1871 to 1879 shows an 
average of 4.38 operations to every 100 births, the period 1900 to 
1907 up to 8.12 operations to every 100 births.” 
“Figure 2 shows the frequency of each class of operation in 
every 1,000 births. Each class of operation shows an increase in 
number, but the increase has not been uniform throughout the 
various classes.” 
“Figure 3, A and B, shows the share of each class of operation 
in the total number for the various periods. A more leading part 
is taken by aftermath operations, by artificially induced premature 
birth, by perforation of the head and by Caesarean section on the 
living. Aftermath operations depend (like the use of the forceps) 
to such a degree on the teachings of the various schools for mid­ 
wifery (and on the time at the doctor’s disposal) that they can 
hardly serve as a standard of birth capacity. The Caesarean 
section, too, can hardly be taken as a guide, as a much wider view 
is taken now of the indications for this operation. But the equally 
increasing numbers of perforations of the head and artificially 
induced premature birth are well worthy of attention. For these 
two operations exclude one another. With the existing tendency to 
avoid perforation of the head by artificially inducing premature 
birth, a rise in the curve of premature births should correspond with 
a sinking of the perforation curve. 1871 to 1879 a maximum of 
the former actually coincides with a minimum of the latter; but 
DC 48-1 
C 48-2 
C 48-3

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