Medicine: Less Fear, Less Pain

As a British obstetrician reasoned it out, childbirth is a natural process, and should not be painful. He decided that the pain that does come with normal birth is caused by fear. Fear causes tension, he explained, and tension causes the muscles of the uterus to work against one another, which causes pain.

Dr. Grantly Dick, Read (TIME, July 22, 1946) began campaigning for "natural" childbirth some 30 years ago. His prescription for the delivery room: banish fear, use as few drugs as possible. Two years ago Dr. Read came to the U.S. and found interested listeners in Dr. Herbert Thorns and...

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