The Fifti25 - The Fifties As for health, most birth defects...

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Unformatted text preview: The Fifties As for health, most birth defects couldn't be diagnosed before birth, and nobody knew what caused most of them. Nobody had a clue that smoking, drinking, or poor diet could be a problem (advanced maternal age was understood to be an issue, but why hadn't yet been studied in-depth). There were no surfactants or other treatments for very premature babies; a lot of hospitals didn't even have incubators. It wasn't unusual in the least for a couple to lose a child at or around birth. And not just poor or middle-class families: many famous power couples (like the John F. Kennedys) lost children at birth or soon afterwards. It was also acceptable, thus fairly common, for families to institutionalize children born with serious birth defects, sometimes going so far as to tell their families that the child had died. Giving birth to a disabled child was seen as so shameful (and, it must be pointed out, the necessary education and facilities for caring for one in-home so few) that...
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