Victoria: Pregnancy & Childbirth

Victoria: Pregnancy & Childbirth


– I hadn’t realized at that
time that 65% of people died in childbirth, so I hadn’t
realized how prevalent. I knew it was a big danger,
but it was extremely, extremely common so the
moment you became pregnant there was always the fear that. – [Albert] You are with child. – You may die, which is
shocking to even kind of try to consider today. I’m afraid. So that side of the story was
really, really interesting, and obviously we know she
went on to have nine children, but it’s very much a
prevalent fear in those days and something to be afraid of. – Childbirth is a dangerous business. Look what happened to Princess Charlotte. – The last heir to the throne was a woman called Princess Charlotte, and she died in childbirth. Awful labor, she died, the baby died, and that
meant that everybody had to get married and have
more grandchildren, and that’s how Victoria
ended up being queen. So childbirth is a
really dangerous business in the 19th century and Victoria, we know this from her diaries, really dreaded to having children. – What are you doing? – [Daisy] She wasn’t a natural mother, even though she had nine children, what she really enjoyed was sex. She didn’t necessarily
like what came after. – Lehzen said if I didn’t want to have children right away. – So what I try to do in the series is to show her trying to negotiate how she might not have children right away with some very primitive ideas of what might work contraceptive-wise, and also when she does get
pregnant she’s really scared because there’s probably a 50%
chance that she’s gonna die because the other thing of
course is if you’re queen, the doctors are terrified of
intervening or doing anything because nobody wants to be the
person who killed the queen. – You know, the whole world
would have me trussed up in bed all day. That’s hardly my style, is it? – She writes afterwards, she said that she refused to breastfeed. She said, “I’m a queen, not a cow.” So she’s got quite different
views to all of that than we might have now. With her seventh child,
they’d invented chloroform by that stage, and she decided to use it, and she had to get permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury
because the Church felt that it was incumbent on
women to suffer during labor and she had to get permission
to have pain relief. But then she did have pain relief and she said it was a
blessing and then after that, she was the person who
paved the way for all women to have pain relief during labor. So, that’s one thing all
women can thank Victoria for.

70 thoughts on “Victoria: Pregnancy & Childbirth

  1. Does the actor know that she's massively off by thinking 65% of woman/children died from birth in the olden days. Even if 1/3 of babies and mothers died we'd be extinct. It was like 10% and a 2/3rds of that 10% mortality to mothers comes from haemorrhaging or infection. Woman don't just die from pain or pushing.

  2. I heard that around that time 1 in 200 births ended with the death of the mother.And the average woman gave birth to 6 children so around 3% of women over the childbearing years would died on average.More males died in childbirth than females when taking infant mortality into account.There is no way that 65% of people could have died in childbirth and humans to still exist.

  3. That number is wildly inaccurate. the chances were approximately 2% for every delivery. However, that meant your chances were not inconsequential if you had a large family.

  4. Kate Williams did a programme on Charlotte and Victoria. It was really sad that Charlotte died. That poor baby it was still born and a very healthy weight. I think being a natural mother doesn't matter. But Victoria did provide a stable home.

  5. This is why I hate things like the buisness of being born , yes it's a natural process but it kills babies and woman . Same for pain relief , never had a child and never will but I know I would not hesitate to use them if needed and no woman should be gulit tripped . This is why I dislike most Midwives from the UK , anti pain relief and anti woman attuides dominate

  6. I'm not sure where she got that 65% statistic but that is definitely wrong. It was more like 1 in 5 women died in childbirth, so yeah, still atrociously high by today's standards, but 65% is ridiculous.

  7. Thank you Queen Victoria for pushing for pain relief (no pun intended). Childbirth is still a dangerous condition. Had it not been for modern medicine, my baby and I would have died during child birth. My hip bones did not open enough to let the babies through. I have normal hips, they just never loosened up. But we are all strong and healthy, so no worries:)

  8. Kaiser Wilhelm was born with a damaged left arm; he was breech and so the doctors were able to turn him but his arm was damaged; Victoria's daughter Vicky went through a very painful 15-hour labour with him and almost died from it. My brother's arm was in the way when he was born and so they did a C-section on my mom after almost 32 hours of labour; her water started leaking 10 weeks and 4 days early and the placenta was slowly detaching but neither was in an emergency situation. The staff gave my mom medication to slow the labour and then surfactant for the baby's lungs. My brother weighed a robust 3 pounds 9 ounces at birth for an almost 30-week baby.

  9. If the doctor went back to that time and saw her as queen victoria
    ‘You’re in the past again! My impossible girl!’

  10. Queen Victoria was a freak! You already know and lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets.

  11. She was continuesouly pregnant for over 20 years. I think Albert did it on purpose so he could run the country….. Because the Tories in Parliament blocked him from being King.

  12. Pregnancy is horrible, birth is a torture session that makes columbian drug lords cringe, and the risk of death even today in a modern hospital is INSANE. The process has nothing for it and everything against it. If I could go back in time, Id give that poor girl a depo provera shot for a wedding gift omg.

  13. Princess Charlotte Of Whales
    THE PRENATAL COURSE OF PRINCESS CHARLOTTE not made public until 1949
    According to the accepted rules, she was carefully dieted almost to the point of starvation. Bleeding was undertaken regularly and she was purgd daily and given a mild laxative daily. This was called a “lowering system of treatment.”
    Prenatal care
    A review of Doctor Croft’s personal records concerning the Princess’ prenatal course: that the princess was to rise at 9:00 a.m.; take breakfast before 10:00; lunch at 2 p.m. eat a little cold meat or some fruit and bread and at dinner to take plainly cooked and easily digested food. She is to exercise both on walking and on horseback on days that weather permitted. She should bathe daily with warm water and to have her loins washed daily with cold water. She was advised to avoid any animalistic appetites. Princess Charlotte wrote to Dr. Croft on the 10th of August of that year. She stated: “I am certainly much better for the bleeding.” It was reported in the court newspaper on October the 22nd of that she had some slight headaches at which time it was necessary to extract blood. It was also noted on one occasion that they had to incise her arm four times before they could find a vein as they were quite deep and ultimately, after consultation, the back of the hand had to be used to let out blood. Either she was gaining a lot of weight or had edema The Princess became so immense it was thought she might have twins. Mrs. Griffiths, the nurse arrived at Claremont on the 1st of October, and about one week later Dr. Croft arrived at the Claremont and took residence and waited for labor to begin.
    Labor and delivery
    At 7 o’clock on the evening of Monday, the 3rd of November, at 42 weeks and 3 days gestation, the membranes spontaneously ruptured and labor pains soon followed. The contractions were coming every 8 to 10 minutes and were very mild. Examination of the cervix at that time revealed the tip of the cervix to be about a half penny dilated. On Tuesday morning, around 3 a.m., the 4th of November, Princess Charlotte had a violent vomiting spell and Dr. Croft thinking that delivery was eminent, sent for the officers of the state and Dr. Matthew Baillie. The Archbishop of Cantebury, the Bishop of London, The Lord Chancellor, the Home Secretary, the Secretary of war and Dr. Baillie, all arrived in their coaches and four before 8:00 a.m. But alas, the Princess was only three centimeters dilated at this time. The lying-in chamber, or Charlotte’s bedroom, was a corner room with large windows on two sides, and it was at the back of the house. There were two doors, one opened into Prince Leopold’s room, which was not occupied, by Sir Richard Croft and the other into the breakfast room, where the archbishop and other ministers sat awaiting the event. This room in turn led into the big gallery and the other principal rooms. One wonders how much peace and quiet Princess Charlotte and Dr. Croft had during the some 40 hours of labor. The pains continued. They were weak and ineffectual but still sharp enough to be distressing, occurring about 8 minute intervals with little progress in the labor. Around 11:00 a.m. that morning after 16 hours of labor the cervix probably 4 cm. with some effacement. At this point Dr. Croft began to worry that the uterus was acting irregularly and that some assistance might be necessary to bring about delivery. Thus a consultation was desirable. It was agreed before that Dr. John Simms would be the consulting physician. He therefore wrote a note to Dr. John Simms, but put off sending it because he felt like contractions were beginning to improve. At 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, she was noted to have just an anterior lip of cervix, and by 9:00 p.m., she was completely dilated. At this point, she had had about 26 hours of the first stage of labor. At this point, Cr. Croft must have felt some relief for he could feel the ear for the first time; the head was noted to be low in the pelvis and Princess Charlotte was well. Nevertheless, the pains continued to be of poor quality and he sent his note to Dr. Simms summing him to immediate attendance. Dr. Simms arrived at 2:00 a.m., on the 5th of November after the second stage had been going on for 5 hours. Charlotte’s progress was discussed with Dr. Baillie and Dr. Simms and a “hands off”, watch and wait type policy was agreed upon. Labor was advancing, but the progress was very slow. The patient was in good spirits; pulse was calm; the “instruments were in readiness;” but the use of them was never considered a question. At noon, on Wednesday, the 5th of November after the second stage of labor had gone on for 15 hours, the uterine discharge became a dark green color, which made the medical attendants fear that the child might be dead. Between three and four p.m. after the second stage had gone on for 18 hours, the child’s head began to press on the external parts, and by 9:00 p.m., was born by the action of Charlotte’s pains only. The child, a 9 lb. Boy was dead and had evidently been dead for some hours. The umbilical cord was very small and was of a dark green or black color. Attempts were made by Drs. Simms And Baillie for a good while to reanimate the child by inflating the lungs, use of friction, hot bathes, and other methods, but with effect. The heart could not be made to beat not even once. This written by Dr. John Simms many years later.
    Postpartum
    About ten minutes after the delivery, Sir Richard Croft discovered that the uterus was contracted in the middle in an hourglass form. The consultants agreed that nothing should be done unless hemorrhage should start. Approximately 20 minutes later, the princess began to hemorrhage. The uterus had contracted down so as to only admit the tips of three fingers, but with some pressure he was able to pass his hand with tolerable ease and peeled off the remaining two-thirds of the adhering placenta without difficulty and before much blood appeared to be lost. At this, Charlotte complained of this being the hardest part of the whole labor. Croft grasped the placenta; brought it down into the vagina and left it there. The Princess complained of pain in the vagina because of the placenta being left there, stating it was giving her great inconvenience and that it was protruding considerably. Thus the doctor removed the placenta from the vagina and this was followed by a moderate discharge of fluid and coagulum. At this time as well as he could feel from the abdominal wall, the uterus appeared to be moderately well contracted.
    Princess Charlotte appeared quite amazingly well as women commonly do after so tedious and exhausting a labor and much better than they often do under other such circumstances. For the next 2 hours Croft felt no apprehension. The patient took plenty of nourishment, made only a few complaints and had a pulse less than 100. It was felt by Dr. Simms (in his letters) that the patient had lost less blood than usual at this point. About 11:45 a.m., Charlotte became nauseated and complained of a singing noise in her head. She was treated with a camphor mixture. Shortly afterwards she vomited. She took a cup of tea and went to sleep for about a half an hour. At that point she became more irritable and more restless and began to talk incoherently. She was given at that point 20 drops of laudanum in wine and water. About 12:45 am. On the 6th of November she complained of great uneasiness in her chest and great difficulty in breathing. Her pulse became rapid, deep and irregular, and she extremely restless and was not able to remain still for a single moment. Attempts were made to give her cordials, nourishment, and anti-spasmodic and opiates. Dr. Matthew Baillie requested that Dr. Barren Stockmore (personal physician of Prince Leopold) see the patient towards the end of her illness. He was reluctant but at last went with him. Dr. Stockmore describes in his “Memoirs” that the princess was “suffering from spasms in the chest and had difficulty in breathing and was in great pain and very restless.” She threw herself continuously from one side of the bed to the other, speaking out to Baillie and Croft. Baillie said to her, “here comes an old friend of yours.” She held out her left hand to me hastily and pressed mine warmly, twice. I felt her pulse, it was going very fast, the beats now strong, now few, now intermittent.” She commented to him, “The doctors had made me quite tipsy.” Near the end, Dr. Stockmore noted that the death rattle continued. The pretty Princess turned several times upon her face, threw up her legs, they the hands grew cold and she died.

  14. I was crippled giving birth to my son 28 years ago because the consultant refused to give me a caesarean. It took me 6 months to learn to walk again, but I am left disabled, having to use a wheelchair and crutches. I lost a lot of blood and my son was born blue because I couldn't push him out. I was given an overdose of Pethadine by a trainee midwife which left me having hallucinations all through my labour.
    I wonder if ending up crippled as I did and having to learn to walk again, but being left disabled was also quite common before caesareans were perforned.

  15. "I'm a Queen not a cow," that didn't stop her eldest daughter Victoria, Empress Consort of Germany and Queen Consort of Prussia from breast feeding. Alice, Grand Duchess of Hess also breast fed her children but everyone forgets about Alice because of her premature death.

  16. I always find hilarious how in the shows we see now they put very beautiful and handsome actors while in those times everyone was very ugly

  17. It was no where near 65%. You were looking at about a 1-2% chance of dying in any given childbirth during this point in time. Even if you had 10 kids, that's like a 10-20% chance. Still absurdly high by today's standards, but not anywhere close to the number she cited here.

  18. Being a nun before modern times sounds like a great thing. You don't have to deal with the bother of a man,you could get educated and best of all you would not have to fear dying in childbirth

  19. A lot of women died during childbirth, after child birth and sometimes months after child birth especially if there were infections. However it wouldn't be 65%, I think she made a mistake there. Babies often died before being born, and that in itself put the mother at a higher risk of death, babies were still born and if born alive many died before their first birthday. Infant mortality was very high. My ancestor lost all 6 of her children ranging from 13 – 3 in one year from the flu.

  20. Back in Victoria's time, for every pregnancy, there was a 1/6 chance a woman could die in childbirth.

  21. The mortality rate they give is so off . That rate doesn’t even exist and has never existed not even in 3rd world countries.

  22. LOL From the sound of it, if 20th & 21st century birth control (ie the pill) had existed in Victoria's era, she probably would've used it. (Nine kids? OMG..lol Glad she survived.)

  23. They aren't big on pain drugs in labor in US. Surprise surprise. I was screaming for demerol liked I sign for at 7 months . I did not take or want Natural birth. And I'm a RN, MSN😎😎😎🌴😇🙀🙀😬

  24. I believe her statistics are incorrect. It was 1 in 5 women died from childbirth. Which is still a horrible statistic. I can not imagine thinking that Everytime I engaged in sex it could kill me 9 months later. What incredibly brave women back then.

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