The wild history of childbirth in 19 pictures

Have you ever looked at modern medicine and thought about how lucky you are to live in modern age? Each and every day, there are new advancements, groundbreaking trials and mind-blowing discoveries. For many fortunate people, a mild cough or flu today is not nearly as dangerous as it was 100 years ago.

Likewise, penicillin is widely available -- transportation for treatment, access to healthcare and modern technology can make the smallest difference in life or death. The development of childbirth to feature safe and less painful experiences is only one of the many advancements we are most thankful for.

It used to be that women would give birth in front of groups and crowds. For noble and royal families, usually 70 people would be present as to "verify" the birth of the baby, and not an imposter.

Could you imagine the entire town showing up to your delivery like it was a show? It seems like something out of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

Additionally, many mothers would be secluded up until labor: "In those days people believed that a child's sex was not determined until the moment it was born, so they thought they could influence the baby's gender during the pregnancy," it was explained.

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Childbirth over the years
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Childbirth over the years
A woman being helped to give birth, on a birth chair, by two midwives, each pulling on a cloth wrapped around the mother's belly, California, USA, circa 1840. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Albert the Great, De Animalibus, folio 145, Difficult childbirth, 15th, FranceParis, Bibliotheque Nationale. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)
A wet nurse holds a newborn baby surrounded by the birth mother and the new siblings. (Photo by Jonathan Kirn/Corbis via Getty Images)
Lucy Baldwin (1869 - 1945, centre), the wife of former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, with a baby born by caesarean section, at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London, 7th February 1930. With her are the surgeon (left) and anaesthetist, who performed the operation. Baldwin is the founder of the Anaesthetics Appeal Fund of the National Birthday Trust Fund (N.B.T.F.), which campaigns for wider provision of analgesia in childbirth. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
July 1939: In an effort to make childbirth as painless as possible, a patient inhales analgesia during labour whilst a nurse looks over her. (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)
Soldier's Son: Pregnancy And Childbirth In Wartime, Bristol, England, 1942, Sister Gwendoline Murphy hands a screaming two-day-old Peter Winston Stacey to his mother Irene for feeding at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. The babies sleep in multiple cots in the nursery and are brought back to their mothers at feeding time, 7 September 1942. (Photo by Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer/ IWM via Getty Images)
Three pyjama-clad little boys are introduced to their newborn baby sister, Janet Lewington, by the midwife after a home delivery in Mottingham, Kent, 4th August 1946. Original Publication : Picture Post - 4201 - A Baby Is Born At Home - pub. 31st August 1946 (Photo by Merlyn Severn/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A nurse in the maternity unit of a hospital keeps an eye on the pressure from the oxygen cyclinder, as they care for a lillte baby girl. January 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
An expectant mother using an inhaler to take the pain killing drug trilene during labour, watched by a hospital midwife. 29th March 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
A nurse handing a newly born baby to its mother, 1956. Original Publication: Picture Post - 9111 - Analgesia - unpub. (Photo by Grace Robertson/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
28th May 1965: Three pregnant women relax in medical 'space-suits' in an attempt to ease childbirth and raise the intelligence of their offspring. A suction pump next to the chairs lowers pressure inside the suits, while a gauge in front of them gives a constant reading. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Felix Gaillard, His Wife And Her Daughter Isabelle In 1958. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
The newly born Letts quintuplets in their incubators at University College Hospital. Father John Letts surveys his instant family of quintuplets as they lie in their incubators at University College Hospital. December 1969 Z12130-010 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Midwife May Guthrie-Lacy photographs the 287th baby which she has delivered at Lytham Hospital. Two day old Nicola Manton and her mother 23 year old Christine will join all the others happy snaps in May Lacy's albums. December 1969 Z12345-002 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
The Davis quintuplets and their parents, Jerry and Debbie Davis, pose for a family portrait, their first since the quintuplets' birth on July 18. The quintuplets' names are (left to right) Christa LeJune, Casey Clifton (the only boy), Chanda Jannae, Charla Rae Ann, and Chelsa Lynnae.
JUN 4 1977, JUN 14 1977; St. Luke's Hospital (Gen) Birthing Room.; (Photo By Ernie Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Maternity Department, Tenon Hospital In Paris, France. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
CANADA - JANUARY 08: New to the world: Mary Dininio of Stroud; Ont.; laughs with joy yesterday moments after giving birth to son Myles; as husband Michael looks on at Women's College Hospital. (Photo by Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

In the 19th century, doctors experimented with chloroform as form of anesthetic. Up until the 20th century, a majority of the births took place at home, assisted by a midwife. Some women gave birth on chairs, a practice adopted from ancient Greece. In the early 1900s, doctors implemented Twilight Sleep, which put the mother to sleep. However, many babies died from lack of oxygen during delivery.

Today, hospitals "remain" the place of birth for many moms in the United States, and midwives seem to be a continuing practice. Epidurals are a very common form of pain management, while doctors experiment with laughing gas and other anesthetics. Likewise, medicine has excelled to include safer techniques for both the mother and baby. Patient care is different, as technology allows for more increased monitoring of both parties for a higher survival rate.

Looking at the pictures above, we can't believe how much advancement has taken place over the past couple of centuries!

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