United States. Public Health Service.

Healthy happy womanhood : a pamphlet for girls and young women online

. (page 1 of 1)
Online LibraryUnited States. Public Health ServiceHealthy happy womanhood : a pamphlet for girls and young women → online text (page 1 of 1)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook




A Pamphlet for Girls
and Young Women


United States Public Health Service
Treasury Department

\Va>hiD|ton, D. C.


AA 000 731 030


Throughout France and in many different coun-
tries of the world there stands the statue of a great
hero:"c Frenchwoman, Joan of Arc. Thds humble
peasant girl of Brittany, aroused by the misfortunes
of her countrjTnen, helped to free them from the
hands of a foreign foe. But to-day she has come to
represent far more than this. She lias come to
£tand for the woman with a vision, tlie woman who
is seeking to do her part for the bettennent of the
world. Wherever her figiu-e appears, it is always
looking forward, the light of a groat piu-pose in her
eyes, the will for large acliievcment in the lines of
her face. As she raises her standard aloft there
seem to gather behind it innumerable hosts of those
who would follow her lead. A daughter of war-
ridden fifteenth-centmy France, she nevertheless
sjTnbolizes the woman of the twentieth centm7",
eager to take a part in the work of the world and in
the great life-giving enterprises of peace.


You who aspire to take a part in the work of the
world should assure yourself of good health. With-
out it all other preparation may be in vain. To-
day, in addition to the more familiar duties
of the home, new occupations in factory and
office are open to you. In many fields you may
now compete with men. But only if you poaseae

20185'— 20 (2)

good health — a vigoroua body and a clnar hrain —
can you cxpi>ct to undertake the new and trying
work successfully. Xo matter how thoroughly
you are trained, such training will he of little value
unless it rests upon a foundation of good health.

Good health is even more important from the
point of view of motherhood. In some of the war-
ravaged countries of Europe more than lialf of the
Laities who are bom die during the first year of life.
Thousands of others begin their lives under
tremendous handicaps, ^^'hy? Lai^ely because
the strength of the mothers has been sapped by
foo<l shortage and overwork so that tliey can not give
their babies proper nourishment. The dream of
these mothers of chubby, rosy-cheeked babies, who
were to have been their joy, has vanished. Upon
healthy womanhood dep>ends to a large extent
happ>' motherhood.

Phy.sical fitness during youth is the best founda-
tion for healthy, happy womanhood. It is an asset
of which you may rightly feel proud. With
health, you can look forward to the time when you
can participate actively in the work of the world;
with health, happy motherhood becomes a well-
grounded hope for the future.


Besides fitting you more effectively for your life's
work, good health will incidentally increase your
beauty and attractiveness. True beauty comes
from within; it can not be put on from without.
Good health gives such beauty, a beauty that will
wear. Its foundation is health of mind and body;
its expression is a sparkling eye, a clear complexion,
a graceful body, an active brain.

Every girl wants to be popular with her com-
panions. To-day the popular girl is the girl who
glows with life, who can swim and dance and play
outdoor games, who has plenty of energy for fun
when she has finished her daily tasks. Good health,
since it produces high spirits, vitality, cheerful-
ness and leadership, will help to make you popular.
Every girl likes to enjoy herself. She likes to go
to parties and picnics, to find the real joys of living.
Physical fitness, by enlarging your opportunity for
enjoyment and your power to enjoy, makes more
such occasions possible.


Plenty of physical exercise, fresh air, sufficient
sleep, frequent bathing, three well-balanced meals
a day, erect carriage and comfortable clothing will
help to make you strong and well.

Exercise. — To keep physically fit, exercise
regularly every day of the year. Many forms of
exercise are enjoyable as well as beneficial. Walk-
ing to and from school or office, "hiking," skating,
canoeing, swimming, are excellent forms of outdoor
exercise. Games, such as basket ball, volley ball,
hockey and tennis, stimulate both mind and body
and are enjoyable sports. The blood tends to flow
to the part of the body that is used and gradually
strengthens the otherwise weak and flabby muscles.
Girls who sit in offices, work in factories, or spend
the day in the schoolroom are using only a part of
their bodies. They need to make special efforts
to exercise the unused muscles during their leis-
uje hours.

Fresh air and sleep. — ^You ehoulfl always insist
upon working in well-ventilated rooms. Spend
some time each clay in the open air. By sleeping in
a room w'ith the ^"indows open, much fresh air is
secured \nthout special effort.

Sleep rests tlie brain and relaxes the muscles.
A groAving girl needs from 8* to 9^ hours of sleep
even.' night. Older girls may find that they can
keep well with somewhat less.

Bathing. — !Many impurities are cast off by the
body through the jwres of the skin. In order to
keep those pores open and clean, frequent hatha
with soap and warm water are necessary. The
best way to bathe is to take a warm liath followed by
a colli shower or sponge and a brisk rub with a coarse
towel. A cold bath is excellent for you, if after the
rub-down it leaves your body warm and glowing
and is followed by a feeling of general well-being.

What to eat. — A vigorous body demands whole
some foo<l, eaten regidarly. Three meals a day are
sufficient. They should include fruits and vege-
tables, either fresh or canned; cereals including
bread, especially whole-wheat and corn bread;
butter, eggs and milk; a moderate amount of
simple dessert. Meat once a day is sufficient.

Proper food, at least eight glasses of water a day,
plenty of exercise, and care in keeping the bowels
emptied each day will prevent constipation. If
waste material in the bowel is not removed, it will
generate poisons which are likely to damage the
entire system.

Erect posture. — Not only unattractiveness but
also headaches and disturbances of the diu'eative
and breathing organs may be due to slouching
positions which crowd the lungs, stomach, and


intestines. The essentials of a good standing
position are to "stand tall" — chest up, not out —
the back touching an imaginary straight line.
The feet should be parallel, with toes pointing
straight forward. Aside from, all questions of
health, the erect girl who carries herself with
ease and gi-ace, inspires, by her very appearance,
the confidence of her employer or teacher and her

Clothing. — Clothes should be loose fitting, warm
and light, and should hang from the shoulders,
which have a bony frame and are well able to
carry the weight. A'void extremes of fashion,
particularly in shoes. For street wear at least
those with low heels will prove attractive as well
as practical. The body needs a level foundation
upon which to stand.


Important in maintaining health and ^'igor and
in carrying on the work of the body are several
organs of different sizes called glands. Each of
these glands produces a special kind of secretion
or juice. The largest gland in the body is the
liver which secretes bile or gall, a juice which aids
digestion. Smaller glands in the cheeks and under
the tongue secrete saliva which has a similar
function. Tear glands give off tears which moisten
and cleanse the eyeball. Other glands, instead
of pouring their secretions out where they can be
seen, send their product directly into the blood.
For instance, the thjToid gland located in the front
of the neck makes a secretion which is absorbed
by the blood and which plays an important part
in development.

Other important glands are the ovaries in the
woman and the testes in the ma;;. These glands
belong to the sex or reproductive organs o£ man
and woman. The secretion from the ONaries is
absorbed by the bloud and canied to all parta
of the Vjody. It causes the girl's breasts to en-
large, her figure to develop. It adds a lastre to
her hair, a spaikle to her eye. It makes her brain
clear and active. In short, it changes her from
Hie awkward girl of 12 or 13 into a bright, at-
tractive young woman. The secretion from the
I oy's sex glands gives tone to his muscles, power
to his brain, and vitality to his nerves. The sex
glands are necessary for the development of man-
hiod and womanhood.


The function of the reproductive organs is to
produce life — fuller and richer life for one's self
and the new lii'e of little ones who will grow up to
assume our tasks. In tliese organs lie the woman's
power to become a motlier and the man's power to
become a father. The gii-l's reproductive organs
consist of the uterus or womb, two fallopian tubes,
two ovaries, and the vagina.

The utenis or womb is a pear-shaped body about
3 inches long, hanging ^^■ith the small end down-
ward in the lower part of the body. Its lower end
opens into the vagina which is a short tube con-
necting it with the oute-ide. The fallopian tubes
are attached to each side of the upper end of the
uterus. Beyond the end of each tube is an o\ ary.

In addition to making the secretion which helps
to develop the girl into a woman, the ovariee make


tiny egg cells. Each cell contains the mother's
portion of the life of a child. After the girl's sex
organs ha^'e partially matured, at 12 to 15 years of
age, one of these egg cells develops about once in
28 days. It passes from the ovary an*-! finds its
way down the fallopian tube.

At about the time the egg cell leaves the ovary,
an additional supply of blood is sent to the uterus.
If this is not needed for the development of the
egg cell it passes out of the body at the monthly
or menstrual period. This is called menstruation.
Menstruation is a normal experience and not an
illness as many girls have been taught to believe.
A girl who is well and strong should feel little or
no discomfort during her menstrual period. To
avoid unnecessary distress due to pressure upon
the uterus, special care should be taken at this
time to empty the bowel and bladder regularly.
Vigorous forms of exercise such as swimming and
horseback riding should be avoided, but some
regular exercise should be taken. The external
parts of the sex organs should always be kept clean
and free from the irritation of tight clothing.
Bathing with warm water and soap is especially
necessary during menstruation, but care should
be taken to avoid getting chilled. If a complete
bath can not be taken, the external parts of these
organs should be washed night and morning.


Before the egg cell furnished by the ovary can
develop into a child, it must be fertilized by the
sperm or male germ cell which is furnished by the
sex organs of the man.


The union of male and female j,'erm colls i8
necessary in most forms of plant and animal life
to produce now life. The male cell in the pollen
of the flower must unite Antli the female cell which
lies at the base of the flower before a seed containing
the life of a new plant will devel'op. This union
of male and female cells is called fertilization.
The ej:g of the hen must be fertilized within the
lien's })ody by the sperm of the rooster if the egg
which is laid is to contain the life of a baby chick.

Among animals such as the rabbit, the cat, the
dog, and the horse, and man, the sperm or male
germ cells are placed in the body of the female
by the sex organ of the male, and union ^\•ith the
egg takes place within the reproductive organs of
the female. The fertilized egg then develops in
the uterus of the mother.

With the human mother, the child grows in the
uterus of the motlier for nine montlis, fed by
nourishment from her blood, warmed and protected
within the body. The muscles of the uterus then
contract, and the child comes down the vagina
into the outer world. At that time the child has
developed to the point where he can breathe for
himself and take the milk furnished by special
glands in the breast of the mother. The uterus of
the mother returns to normal size within a few days
after the birth of the child. Afteru'ard she should
liave even greater \igor and better health for the


The feeling of hunger which animals and human
beings have drives them to seek fnod. The sex
instinct leads them to create life and continue the


race. There exists between men. and ■women a
strong attraction . This attraction is of te n descri bed
by the "vrord love. LoA'e is due in a large measure
to the sex instinct. All the fine emotions such as
love ol: mother for cMld, of husband and %vife,
friendship, devotion to a gi'eat cause, and the joy
wliich one finds in every day work are closely
related to it.

For tlie boy and for the gii'l the creative or sex
impulse finds satisfaction in constructive acti\'ities.
School Work, reading interesting books of romance
and adventure, clubs, games, outdoor sports xrith.
boys and girls, all furnish outlets for creative
energy. Such outlets are also to be found in hob-
bies, the making of collections, or the cultivation of
special talents in dramatics, music, and painting,
These hobbies ha-\-e the additional ad^-antage of
helping a girl to make herself a distinct indiAidual.
If she participates in pageants or plays or debating,
or is known as a girl who paints posters, she is
somebody, and therefore has more respect for her-
self and receives more I'espect fi-om others. The
unmarried woman finds an outlet for her creative
energA' in work, recreation, and serAice for others.
But because tliis impulse is related to the creation
of new life its most complete expression is found in
building up a home and family.

The sex instinct is a tremendous power in life.
Used rightly it vdll bring to the indiAidual and to
the race the gi-eatest joy; used wrongly it will not
only fail to produce this result, but also it will prob-
ably lead to serious suffeiing and unhappiness.



After centuries of experience the marriage of
one man with one woman has come to be considered
the best method of carrjinp: on the life of the race.
Through such a relationship the sex instinct finds
its mogt wholesome satisfaction. A man and a
woman who liring children into the v/orld whom
they are unwilling to take care of endanger their
own happiness as well as the v.-elfare of the com-
munity. They miss the finer joys of human love
and fail to appreciate what such love may mean
in their lives.

More than this. Indulgence in sex relations
among persons who are not married to each other
exposes them to a serious phy.«iral danger. They
are likely to become infected with a venereal dis-
ease. These diseases are called syphilis fpox) or
gonorrhea (clap). They are germ diseases.

To the man a venereal disease may mean lifelong
suffering, unless by proper treatment the germs
are destroyed . Syphilis often causes heart disease,
paralysis, and some forms of in.sanity. Gonorrhea
may cause blindness, chronic rheumatism, incur-
able disorders of the sex organs, and inability on
the man's part to become a father.

A man who has one of these diseases is likely to
give it to his ^v^fe. WTiile syphilis affects her much
as it does a man, gonorrhea often afflicts her even
more seriously. Many operations upon women's
reproductive organs are made necessary* by gonor-
rhea. Many women are lifelong invalids as the
result of this dLscafo. Some die. Many babies
are blind at birth by gonorrhea in tlie mother.
Fortunately, simple medical treatment given the


baby immediately after birth ^vill prevent blind-
ness of this kind. Syphilis causes many miscar-
riages (the birth of babies before they can live out-
side the mother's body). Many babies are defec-
tive in A-arious ways because of it.

It is important to remember, however, that these
results — blindness, sores, invalidism, and opera-
tions upon women — ^are often due to causes other
than syphilis and gonorrhea.

These diseases are contagious or "catching."
Usually they are passed from person to person
through sexual intercourse. Occa.sionally, how-
ever, a person is infected through using a towel, or
public drinking cup, or from being kissed by a
diseased person. Accusations should never be
made, therefore, against anyone who appears to be
suffering from the effects of gonorrhea or sj'philis.
If one of these diseases has actually been con-
tracted, the infection may have occurred in an
entirely innocent way.

Sj'philis and gonorrhea can be cured if treated
by a competent physician. There are many good
clinics for those who can not afford a private phy-
sician. If the treatment is not thorough and con-
tinued long enough the disease may reappear years
after the patient believes the cuie to be complete.
This is especially true when the infected person
relies on patent medicines or "quack" doctors.
Advertising doctors seldom cm-e and generally do
more harm than good.

Because the sex instinct, which may bring the
individual the greatest joy, is sometimes misused
a girl should exercise gieat care in the choice of the
men with whom she associates. Chance acquaint-
ances often in\ite girls on automobile rides, to


mo^•iee, and cates vriih the intention of loading
them into sex relations. Such inWtations should
be refused. A girl does not v.-ish to be considered
an easy mark or to put herself in a position where
a man can take advanta^^e of her.


Men have ahrays demanded that the women
whom they marry be pure. But too little atten-
tion has been paid to the men who have been
unchaste or unfaithful. To-day physicians are
teaching that sexual intercourse is no more neces-
sar}' for men than for women. People are realizing
that the great<?^•t health and happiness can be
attained only through complete physical, mental
and spiritual development, that such development
is possible only when the sex instinct is used for
the upbuilding of the individual and the race.
They understand that this rule applies as rigidly
to men as to woinen.

Girls and women have a special work to do,
therefore, in helping to build up a liigh standard
of sex conduct. They must demand clean living
from the men vriih whom they associate. Frank,
wholesome companionship on the part of the girl
will encourage the same sort of companionship
from the man. Good manners are bom of a respect
for one's self and for others. A handshake extends
a friendly greeting. A kiss should mark a pledge
of love. A girl who does not value these expres-
sions highly and use them sparingly makes herself
cheap and weakens her p(nver of self-protection.
If she really values a man's regard, she ^^^ll not
seek to ^vin it through acts and words of familiarity,
or clothing which tends to arout?e sex desires.


Ph\'sical attraction alone will never wholly satisfy;
lasting love and friendship are cf the mind as well
as of the body. Their foundation is mutual respect
and understanding, their highest expression a
deeply spiritual emotion.

A girl's success and happiness will depend large-
ly upon her choice of associates and finally upon
her choice of a husband. Because she Avill choose
her husband from among her men friends, it is
important that her friendships be based upon qual-
ities that will wear. Hasty marriages, following an
acquaintance of a few days or weeks, often result
in unhappiness because they are not founded on a
love based upon a knov/ledge of each other. Fit
partners for life are those who understand and
respect each other's \'iews, who recognize each
other's faults as well as \irtue8, and who are willing
to work together for lasting companionship.


The future of the race depends upon the chil-
dren. The men and women of to-day can de-
termine in a large degree the kind of men and
women who will make up the world of to-morrow.
A girl can, by keeping herself well and by marry-
ing a man who is physically fit, give her children a
clean bill of health. '^Tiether they will add fine-
ness of character to a good physical inheritance
depends largely upon the influence which is exert-
ed upon them in their home.

It is the woman who is peculiarly the home
maker. She can determine whether her home is
to be a place where people sleep and eat only, or
where hei family and friends find comfort, inapix-


ation and sympathetic companionship. A tru9
home maker t<h;ircs her husliand'o responsihilitiea,
enters into the lives of her children and the com-
munity. By developing her own mind and spirit
she is able to give the best in herself and draw out
the be' tin others. Her huaband and children love
her and work i.r her gladly.


In the development of America, women have
mat.'e a splendid record. Three hundred years ago,
when the Pilgrims landed on the stern and rock-
boun 1 Xew England coast, it was the women — the
Anr s and the Priscillas — who kept hope and faith
a!i\e as the numlicr of graves beneath the Plymouth
cornfields grew and £'rew. During pioneer days in
solitary log caV ins, women shared %\Tth their bus-
lands the constant danger of attack from hostile
Indians. They were not spared when the red-
skins descended upon the settlements \\'ith toma-
hawk and torch, as the stories of Ann Hutchinson,
Hannah Dustin and many others indicate. At
the time of tho Revolution, Molly Pitcher, taking
her husband's ]>lacc in the fighting when ho W3^
grievously wounded, was not the only woman who
showed courage and endurance. Through the
terrible ^nnter at Valley Forge, when the cause of
Washi.Tgi»n and Jefferson seemed all but lost,
women in homes from Massachusetts to Georgia
helped to keep the light of liberty burning.
Women bore their share of the burden in the settle-
ment of the lands across the Alleghenies, in the
fertile valleys of the Ohio and the Misfsissippi.
And in the tragic days of the Civil War, in homes


nortli and south, in hospitals and on battlefields,
•vromeu took their part earnestly and courageously.
Never in any period of the country's history have
they been found wanting.

To-day the opportunities for woman's develop-
ment and her ability to contribute toward the
creation of a better world are greater than ever
before. At last all acti\dties of life are open to her.
She is now free to choose the part she will play in
the world's work. Whatever part it may be, good
health is essential. Only because the women of
pioneer days possessed clear minds and Aigorous
bodies were they able to take such an active part
in the settlement of this country. Their record is
a challenge to you, a woman of the new century.
But only as yon .are similarly qualified can you in
the home and in the larger world outside meet this
challenge of a glorious past by your achievement.

V. D. No. CO. S.B.ofH.










Online LibraryUnited States. Public Health ServiceHealthy happy womanhood : a pamphlet for girls and young women → online text (page 1 of 1)