Birth Weight and Economic Growth

Women's Living Standards in the Industrializing West

W. Peter Ward

Birth Weight and Economic Growth
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W. Peter Ward

234 pages | 23 line drawings, 27 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1993
Cloth $62.50 ISBN: 9780226873220 Published October 1993
How can the history of birth weight add to our knowledge of women's living conditions in the past? In this study of newborn weight and economic growth in Boston, Dublin, Edinburgh, Montreal, and Vienna between 1850 and 1930, W. Peter Ward explores the relation between infant size, economic development, and living standards of working-class women in the industrializing West.

Drawing on clinical records from urban maternity hospitals and outpatient services, Ward compares birth weight between cities and traces changes in fetal size during a period in which some cities experienced dramatic economic development while others stagnated. Because fetal growth is strongly affected by maternal nutrition, Ward's research sheds new light on the well-being of working-class women whose living conditions have long been obscure and exceedingly difficult to examine.

This book will interest social and economic historians, as well as scholars of women's studies and the history of medicine, and its lessons on the distribution of social benefits during economic change have immidiate relevance for today's developing countries.
Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Birth Weight Past and Present
The significance of birth weight
Factors influencing the course of fetal growth
Low birth weight
The history of measuring newborns
Medical care in pregnancy
Institutional childbirth
2. Edinburgh, 1847-1920
Population and economy
The hospital and its patients
Weight at birth
Birth length
Nutrition and the disease environment
4. Dublin, 1869-1930
Population and economy
The hospital and its patients
Weight at birth
Birth length
Nutrition and the disease environment
6. Montreal, 1851-1904
Population and economy
The hospital and its patients
Weight at birth
Nutrition and the disease environment
7. Size at Birth, Nutrition, and Economic Development
Genetic, maternal, and medical factors
Intergenerational, nongenetic factors
Social and economic factors
General economic factors
Institutional influences
The role of nutrition
Two comparative perspectives
Trends in newborn size
Birth weight and male height compared
Birth weight past and present
Birth weight and economic development
Appendix 1- Sources and Samples
Appendix 2- Annual Birth Weight Means
Appendix 3- One-way Analysis of Variance
Abbreviations
Notes
References and Additional Sources
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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