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September 2, 1916


JAMA. 1916;LXVII(10):739-741. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02590100029009

The recent general agitation over the question of painless labor has accomplished much good in: (1) stimulating research into newer and even older methods of painless labor; (2) demonstrating that the use of some preparation of opium, intelligently administered, is not as dangerous to the unborn child as we have in the past supposed, and (3) emphasizing the baneful results of fear, pain and shock of labor on the present and subsequent mental and physical condition of the highly civilized neuropathic woman of the day.

Many, possibly the majority, of the upper, highly civilized class of women are physically and mentally unfit to suffer an approach to spontaneous labor, by reason of their low resistance to the shock of labor. Hence these women have pathologic labors—are themselves neuropathic.

Unless guarded from too much suffering by analgesia and anesthesia, or perhaps surgical means, women of this class experience a profound physical