Document 3: "Maternity Protection," Bulletin, Women's City Club of New York, 1 (October 1917), pp. 1-2, WCCNY Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Hunter College, New York, N.Y. (WCCNY microfilm, reel 17, frames 22-23).

Introduction

       This article in the club's Bulletin describes the Maternity Center's launching and its early activities. It shows that the Center worked closely with several other groups.

MATERNITY PROTECTION

       Every day makes it more apparent that war conditions have made our work in Maternity Protection doubly important. A recent letter from the Federal Committee on venereal diseases calls attention to the fact that European armies have lost the services of more men from venereal diseases than from any other one cause. Add to this, the great increase in insanity, the crippling and maiming of men, and finally the actual loss of life among the select men of the country and it becomes clear that there was never a time when we need not only to save every life but to see that we produce a healthy, viril new generation.

       Club members will be glad to know, therefore, that our special Maternity Center has now been established at 219 East 79th St. We have taken the first floor of a fine old house which gives us an office, waiting room, dressing room and examining room. Miss Anna Stevens, a graduate nurse of Johns Hopkins, is in immediate charge with Dr. Warren Hildreth and Dr. Angenette Parry, physicians for the clinics. Miss Stevens has had charge of the maternity wards at Johns Hopkins and at the Brooklyn Hospital, while Dr. Hildreth was for three years in charge of obstetrics at the Sloane Maternity Hospital and is now associated with Dr. Ralph Waldo Lobenstine. Dr. Parry, one of our own members, is well known as one of the leading women physicians of the city. Miss Hazel Corbin, a graduate nurse from the Brooklyn Hospital, with earlier business training will be in charge of the office work.

       Even with this staff we could not begin to handle the cases which are coming to us without the generous aid which the Henry Street Settlement has given by assigning several nurses to this pre-natal visiting work. Definite plans of cooperation, whereby maternity cases, otherwise without care, are referred to us, have been worked out with the Manhattan Maternity Hospital, the School Nurses and Milk Centers of the Board of Health, the Charity Organization Society, the Beth-El Sisterhood, the Emanu-eL Sisterhood, the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, the New York Diet Kitchen, and several settlements. Other agencies will be reached as rapidly as possible.

       Another important branch of the work is the arrangement whereby nurses are provided to assist doctors at deliveries. The need for a nurse to remain with the mother and help with the baby has been serious. We are able to provide this service through the cooperation of the Manhattan Maternity Hospital and the various nursesí training schools which are supplying nurses to work under the direction of the Henry Street Nurses.

       There has yet been but little time to develop properly the educational work, but even without this we are handling over two hundred cases and the clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays are well attended. We are especially pleased at the securing through the Board of Health the active cooperation of the midwives who are bringing their cases to us for examination and advice, as in the case of a woman who had two miscarriages and the midwife was anxious to avoid a third. In another case special advice was needed for a woman who was about to have her first baby and who had an unusually small pelvis, a common cause of mortality among both mothers and babies. If we can encourage midwives to secure expert obstetrical advice, we will have made an important advance in a city where the use of midwives is so prevalent.

       The need for development of the work in various directions is becoming imperative. Mother Clubs for instance must be immediately organized for the instruction of mothers in regard to the need of regular physical examinations as well as instruction concerning proper food and care of themselves and the feeding and clothing of the baby.

       We hope that every Club member who has not yet contributed toward this work will do so at once as funds are greatly needed. Come to the meeting on Wednesday and hear further details.

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