Harvard University public talk: “Your Baby on Day 33”: Pregnancy Development Timelines from Nineteenth-Century Maternity Guides to Twenty-First Century Apps

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College room

Since the mid-nineteenth century, popular pregnancy advice has included illustrated developmental timelines. Nineteenth-century timelines communicated enthusiasm about the new science of embryology and served as a cudgel to berate women who deliberately neglected or ended their pregnancies as part of an enormous drop in middle-class birth rates. Twentieth-century timelines were meant to motivate women to seek modern prenatal care and abandon casual and fatalistic attitudes toward pregnancy. Twenty-first century timelines delivered via websites and mobile apps feed women’s excitement about pregnancy in order to cultivate “engagement” and promote “click-throughs.” Consistently over the centuries, timelines have described an ideal pregnancy and ignored the large proportion of pregnancies which do not reach fruition in full-term birth. What would a more realistic and informative description of prenatal development look like?

Podcast Interview about The Modern Period with Kate Clancy at Context and Variation. Posted December 1, 2017.

Panel Discussion: Nursing Clio: Making Archives Public. October 23, 2017, 12:30 p.m., University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.

Invited Talk at The Hastings Center: “Counting Chickens Before They Hatch? An Historian’s Take on Pregnancy and Miscarriage in Contemporary America.”  March 8, 2016.

Television interview about The Modern Period, Pregnancy, Miscarriage, and Parenting, broadcast on Princeton TV during August 2015 and available here in podcast

Society for the History of Technology Annual Meeting
November 6-9, 2014, The Henry, 300 Town Center Drive, Dearborn, Michigan
A Little Bit Pregnant?: Home Pregnancy Tests and False Certainty
conference registration required

American Association for the History of Medicine Annual Meeting
May 14, 2014, 4:00 p.m., Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel, 1 West Wacker Drive, Chicago
Buying for the Baby Too Soon?: Pregnancy Advice, the Culture of Consumption and Miscarriage in Nineteenth through Twenty-First-Century America
conference registration required

Hagley Museum and Library Research Seminar
Thursday, April 10, 2014, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Hagley Library
Buying for the Baby Too Soon? Marketing to Pregnant Women and its Implications for Early Pregnancy Loss
open to the public; precirculated paper available

University of Pennsylvania Bates Center Seminar
March 19, 2014, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM, in Room 435, Floor 4, Claire Fagin Hall
When More Care Means More Pain: The Development of Early Prenatal Care and Its Impact on Early Pregnancy Loss
open to the public; simultaneous webinar available free

Kansas University Medical Center
November 19, 2013
Don Carlos Peete Lecture
Making Babies, Making Miscarriages: Ultrasound, Home Pregnancy Testing and Early Pregnancy Loss

Rutgers University
November 9-10, 2013
Symposium on Maternal and Fetal Bodies
Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, and the History of Miscarriage

American Association of the History of Medicine
May 2013
Abortion Debates and Early Pregnancy Loss: ‘Life,’ ‘Choice,’ and Lost Babies

University of Pennsylvania
May 3-4, 2013
Symposium in honor of Ruth Schwartz Cowan
The Ultrasound Ritual and Early Pregnancy Loss

Yale University
April 1, 2013
History of Science and Medicine Colloquium
Without Choice or Life: The Impact of the Abortion Debates on Experiences of Early Pregnancy Loss since Roe v. Wade

American Association of the History of Medicine
April, 2012
The Historical Development of Modern Distinctions between Contraception and Early Abortion

American Association of the History of Medicine
April, 2011
In Vitro Fertilization and Early Pregnancy Loss

University of California at Berkeley
March 2, 2010
Gender and Science Program
Making Miscarriage: Technologies of Early Pregnancy Loss

University of California at Los Angeles
March 1, 2010
History of Science, Technology and Medicine Colloquium
Making Miscarriage: Technologies of Early Pregnancy Loss

Berkshires Conference on the History of Women
June, 2008
New Losses: The Emergence of Very Early Miscarriage in the Twentieth Century

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