What was different about pregnancy in 1979/1980 from now?

Question by Lele K: What was different about pregnancy in 1979/1980 from now?
For a story.

Obviously technology would be less advanced, so how would the whole process differ? In terms of taking a home pregnancy test, hearing heartbeat, ultrasounds, giving birth…that type of stuff.

Any information would be much appreciated!

Best answer:

Answer by Amaretta
Home pregnancy tests were just starting to become available back then. Women were more likely to go to the doctor to find out if they were pregnant. You typically had only one ultrasound during your pregnancy at around the 5 month mark. The image it provided was basically a shadow or blur — very different from the clear images available today where you can see eyelids and fingers, etc., late in the pregnancy. But you could hear the baby’s heartbeat at that point and they could tell you what sex the baby was if you wanted that information. Unlike today, many parents did not want to know the sex ahead of time. That era was sort of the highpoint of the “natural childbirth” movement, with many women determined to give birth without any medication. Since many couples only intended to have two children (because of concerns about planet overpopulation), the mothers wanted to experience the whole thing. There were fewer options back then in terms of things like water births, birthing stools, midwives, etc., although women in some places (like California) were beginning to experiment with that kind of thing. You were allowed to have your spouse (and it usually was your spouse, not your boyfriend) in the delivery room with you, but you generally didn’t have other relatives there. Some hospitals provided special birthing suites, but most did not. Many ob/gyns offered childbirth classes and those were popular, particularly with women who intended to have a natural birth and wanted to learn breathing techniques. Many ob/gyns were also determined to avoid c-sections as much as possible, so sometimes babies were born naturally that should have been born via c-section which could lead to unnecessary trauma for both mother and baby (and sometimes cerebral palsy for the child).

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