Pregnancy in the 19th Century

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Nancy Thorne with issues around childbirth and pregnancy.

Childbirth in the 19th century was the most common cause of death in women.

Still, it was expected as the norm that a married woman will bear children, and that they will be her life’s purpose … a woman’s place in society.

In the 1800s, multiple pregnancies resulting in more than eight children are not unusual. The average North American number of births at this time was six.

Birth control was almost non-existent, although breastfeeding for an extended period of time helps create a distance between each pregnancy.

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It goes without saying that in this century it was considered disgraceful if a woman became pregnant without being married. Often ostracized by their families, it was felt necessary to send the unfortunate young woman away from the prying eyes of the community. If her father happened to be wealthy, it was possible to live secretly away comfortably until her baby is born and never acknowledged. However, if her father was poor, resorting to prostitution may have been the young woman’s only means of survival. Most births in the 19th century happened in the home and midwives were popular in assisting with the deliveries. In 1853 during labor for her eighth child, Queen Victoria was given chloroform to assist with the pain, unusual for the time when every birth was natural.

About the Book: Victorian Town

Abby Parker planned out her whole life: complete her final year of high school, go to
college, get a job, move away from her insane family, stay best friends with Jessica.
But that was before she broke into the nearby tourist attraction and unwittingly answered
a call from a centuries-old spirit who dragged her into the 19 th century.
Now she must solve a Victorian mystery without getting herself killed, or worse, spend a
lifetime trapped in the past, leaving behind everyone she loves and altering their lives
When she meets gorgeous Benjamin, the future looks a lot like wreckage.

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About the Author

An award-winning author of short stories published in Canada and the US, Nancy
Thorne’s debut novel Victorian Town is a time-hopping, paranormal romance featuring a
high-school girl out to solve a century-old murder. She lives just outside of Toronto.


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Caroline Warfield, Author

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