What We Put Our Mothers Through… Even Before We Were Born

by Kassandra Lamb

In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would share with you all some tidbits from two small booklets I found amongst my mother’s mementos after she passed away. I’m not real sure why she chose to keep them, perhaps for their comic value.

One booklet’s title is “Instructions for Expectant Mothers” and its pages are quite yellowed (circa 1948 when my brother was born). The other is called “Information for Obstetric Patients” and is not quite as yellowed (circa 1952 when I was born). Here are some of the pearls of wisdom doctors dispensed to their pregnant patients in the 1940’s to 1950’s:

“After the fourth month, all garments should hang from the shoulders, not from the waist. Specially designed garments will make your condition less conspicuous.”

THEN! (photo by by Bundesarchiv Bild,  CC-BY-SA 3.0 de, Wikimedia Commons)

THEN! (photo by by Bundesarchiv Bild, CC-BY-SA 3.0 de, Wikimedia Commons)



Not real sure how a tent with sleeves makes one less conspicuous but… (and don’t ask me why the woman is playing a clarinet in this picture; I have no clue).




NOW! (photo by Montse PB CC-BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

NOW! (photo by Montse PB CC-BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)







More words of wisdom about one’s attire when pregnant:

“...If you have never worn a corset, you may not need one during pregnancy, especially first pregnancy. If you have any discomfort due to lack of support, you should wear a corset.

Wait a minute! Waistbands are verboten but it’s okay to wear one of these…

A maternity corset

A maternity corset (seriously, I’m not making this up!)

Sexual Intercourse:
“Sexual intercourse is permitted during the first 7 months of pregnancy, except during the time when menstruation would normally occur.”
(my emphasis)

Say what? Why in the world would you not be able to have sex during the time when you would normally have a period if you were not pregnant? This is in both booklets, with no explanation given. *scratches head*

“Many women wish to know if they may travel to various out-of-town places. The answer is no, and if you go, you must be entirely responsible…Automobile rides on smooth streets and roads are permissible, but you should not make long tours even under the best of circumstances… It is not advisable for you to drive a car after the fourth month.”
(again, my emphasis)

“…you must be entirely responsible” – apparently doctors worried about malpractice suits even then.

Hey Lady, you better get out behind that wheel if you're over 4 months pregnant! (image from Dorothy Levitt's front piece to The Woman and The Car)

Hey Lady, you better get out from behind that wheel if you’re over 4 months pregnant! (image from Dorothy Levitt’s frontpiece to The Woman and The Car)

Gee, Mom, I’m really sorry about all that I put you through. In addition to those hours of labor, 2 a.m. feedings and rebellious teenage years, you had to wear a corset while pregnant with me, couldn’t drive, and still had to keep track of your periods even when you weren’t having them, so you’d know when you weren’t supposed to make whoopee.

Thanks for all the sacrifices you made for me!

(Btw, I seriously doubt my mother did any of those things.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, young and old and in between!!

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Kassandra Lamb
    May 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I’ve been informed that it’s an oboe, not a clarinet. I stand corrected! 😀

  • Reply
    Susie Lindau
    May 11, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I doubt mine remembers much at all from so long ago. SCORE!

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      May 12, 2015 at 1:02 am

      LOL, Susie! There are some advantages to memory loss with age.

  • Reply
    Amy Kennedy
    May 11, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    So funny! Thanks for sharing… I’m not sure if women could drive after their 4th month by 1958 when I was born, but I do know it was okay to smoke… Just sayin’

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      May 12, 2015 at 1:03 am

      Exactly, Amy! There is absolutely no mention of smoking or alcohol in these little booklets, but heaven forbid the poor expectant mother should go on a road trip!

  • Reply
    Cindy Hamilton
    May 12, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Great article. Things have surely changed for the better! Those are some funny ideas they had and the no sex durng the time you would have your period. What? I was so happy to not have one, why in the world would i keep track of it! 🙂

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      May 12, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Yes, that was exactly my thought, Cindy! I was very happy to be able to forget about it for a while. One of the few perks of pregnancy!

  • Reply
    Pernette Wells
    May 12, 2015 at 7:35 am

    My how times have changed. Some for the absolute better. Some not so much.

    • Reply
      Kassandra Lamb
      May 12, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      Amen, Pernette!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.