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diminished birth capacity in women, and this diminished capacity
arising partly from constitutional and consequently hereditary factors,
this question suggests itself: Is the average birth capacity of women
progressively diminished by the fact that an increasing number of
women, more or less unfit for childbirth, are artificially assisted
in bringing forth living children who inherit this weakness from the
mother?"

"Our table attempts to answer this question on the basis of official
Midwifery Statistics compiled in the Grand Duchy of Baden reaching back
to 1871, that is the beginning of the antiseptic era.

"To avoid the errors, which small figures might lead to, each
calculation has been based on the average figures of a lengthy period.
The material dealt with comprises over two million births."

[Sidenote: C 48-1]

"Figure 1 shows the +increasing frequency of all childbirth
operations taken together+. The period 1871 to 1879 shows an
average of 4.38 operations to every 100 births, the period 1900 to 1907
up to 8.12 operations to every 100 births."

[Sidenote: C 48-2]

"Figure 2 shows the +frequency of each class of operation in every
1,000 births+. Each class of operation shows an increase in number,
but the increase has not been uniform throughout the various classes."

[Sidenote: C 48-3]

"Figure 3, A and B, shows the +share of each class of operation in
the total number for the various periods+. A more leading part is
taken by aftermath operations, by artificially induced premature birth,
by perforation of the head and by Caesarean section on the living.
Aftermath operations depend (like the use of the forceps) to such a
degree on the teachings of the various schools for midwifery (and on
the time at the doctor's disposal) that they can hardly serve as a
standard of birth capacity. The Caesarean section, too, can hardly be
taken as a guide, as a much wider view is taken now of the indications
for this operation. But the equally increasing numbers of perforations
of the head and artificially induced premature birth are well worthy
of attention. For these two operations exclude one another. With the
existing tendency to avoid perforation of the head by artificially
inducing premature birth, a rise in the curve of premature births
should correspond with a sinking of the perforation curve. 1871 to
1879 a maximum of the former actually coincides with a minimum of the
latter; but from there on both curves rise, though not in the same
degree. Premature births have become since then (see Fig. 2) more than
eight times as frequent; perforations of the head have trebled; and
dismemberments of the child have doubled. This fact must be considered
as a sign of lessened birth capacity."

[Sidenote: C 48-4]

"Figure 4 shows the +decrease of the total number of
stillbirths+."

[Sidenote: C 48-5]

"Figure 5 gives the +share which abnormal position of the child has
in this total+, and a comparison of the two shows that whilst the
total has decreased by 1.42% the decrease (1880 to 1889) has been 2.35%
in the case of stillbirth through abnormal position. The conclusion is,
that there is now more opportunity for hereditary transmission of the
tendency to faulty position of the child than three to four decades
ago."

[Sidenote: C 48-6]

"But Figure 6 proves that up to now an +increased inheritance of
this tendency has not taken place+. The curves of these positions
not only show irregularities but (with the exception of cross births) a
tendency to sink."

"Recapitulation. The growing frequency of surgically assisted births
cannot be taken as evidence of a diminished birth capacity, but is
closely connected with the growing number of doctors. Against the
indications of a diminished birth capacity stand at the moment those
which previously could be taken as pointing in the opposite direction.
It would, therefore, appear that medical interference at birth has
brought to the race advantages as to quantity and no drawbacks as
to quality. But it is probable that the picture will change during
the coming decades, because only then will the daughters of mothers
who could not have brought forth living children without surgical
assistance become themselves mothers. The renunciation of motherhood
on the part of the women least suited for this function and the war
against rickets might act as preventatives."

The great anxiety about the elimination of the severest struggle for
existence is based on the undoubtedly erroneous fundamental conception
that the organism is a sorry product of necessity which can barely
manage to maintain a laborious existence by the constant straining
of all its faculties, and that it requires the continuous use of
the whip of necessity to prevent an organism from giving way to its
inherent tendency to degeneration. In fact, however, no organism is
conceivable which has not the "Tendency" to maintain itself and to
react accordingly. There are many facts which prove that a wealth
of capacities and tendencies is dormant in organisms which for
innumerable generations have not been active, or, perhaps, have, never
functioned in every possible way, and that, therefore, if the occasion
arises replacements or accommodations of an unprecedented character
may occur. In an unprejudiced system of race-hygiene these facts must
not be overlooked. The exhibition in this section gives two specially
striking instances; the one from animal the other from plant life.

[Sidenote: C 49]

To begin with Figure C 49 gives a diagrammatic representation of the
+development of the eye of a vertebrate+ - after K. Kraepelin
(taken from "Experimentelle Biologie II., T. v. Curt Thesing,
Leipzig, Teubner, 1911") - which shows that the lens is formed out
of an invagination of the cornea and the retina by an extension of
the brain. In the lower part of the plate the various phases of the
+reconstruction of the lens out of the iris+ are shown, after
it had been removed by a cataract operation from the eye of a Triton
larva. (This experiment was carried out by Gustav Wolff.)[A] Thus an
organ which normally is not concerned with the formation of the lens
takes charge of its regeneration.

[Footnote A: Studies in the Physiology of Development II. Archiv. für
Entwicklungs mechanic der Organismen, XII. Vol., 3 Part, 1901.]

A large number of tables deal with the influence of the numerical
position in the progeny, with the number of births and the interval
between births, on the health of the children, partly acting alone,
partly in combination with the influence of the manner of nourishment
during infancy.

[Sidenote: C 50]

+Numerical position in family and infantile mortality+, after
Geissler. According to these statistics, the fifth child of a mother
has materially less vitality than the first four, the second and third
children have the most; but this does not agree with other statistics.

[Sidenote: C 51]

According to Riffel's investigations - +influence of the numerical
position of the child and the age of the parents at the time of
marriage on infant mortality+, after v.d. Velden, a material
difference between the mortality of the three earliest born children
and the three next born is only shown if both parents at the time of
marriage have attained a certain age (man over 28, woman over 25); only
the seventh to ninth show under all circumstances a materially greater
mortality than the earlier children. The children of more aged parents
show a materially greater mortality than those of younger parents.
The number of children in a family up to the eleventh has no material
influence on infant mortality, only in families with twelve children or
more a materially greater number of children perish before the fifth
year.

[Illustration:

Relation of Number of Births to Infant Mortality.

Percentage of Deaths to 100 Births.


Died during the first year of life.

Geissler.

26,429 births to 5,236 marriages of members of Saxon coalminers' funds.
(Some still-born infants, and children of marriages to which there were
only one or two births, are not included).

Died before reaching the age of 0.09 of a year, _i.e._, a little more
than a month.

[Note: under the first graph in figure] The mortality of the 1st, 2nd,
3rd and 4th child is below the average. Greatest vitality shown by 2nd
and 3rd child.

[Note: under the second graph in figure] The mortality of the 2nd, 3rd,
4th and 5th child is below the average. Greatest vitality shown by 2nd,
3rd, and 4th child.

Figure C 50.]

[Illustration:

Influence of the Number of Births and the Age of the Parents at the
Time of Marriage on Infant Mortality.

(From Riffel's Tables, after v. d. Velden).

Key to Table - - - - - -


Percentage of Children Born. 1-3 4-6 7-9 Children
=================================== ==== ==== ==== { Children of all
28.8 30.5 38.5 { parents. { { Husband over 28 or Died before { wife
over 25 years 38.5 41.6 53.4 reaching { old. 6th year. { { Husband over
28 and { wife over 25 years 41.5 51.7 64.7 { old.


Influence of the Number of Children Born to a Family on Infant
Mortality.

3-5 6-8 9-11 12-15 Children ==== ==== ==== ===== Percentage of children
born Died before reaching 5th year 25.5 27.7 22.7 44.3

Figure C 51.]

[Sidenote: C 52]

+Number of conceptions and conception losses+, by Dr. Agnes
Bluhm; the exhibitor gives the following explanation -

Hamburger's material deals with 1,042 marriages of the labouring
classes in Berlin, with a total of 7,261 conceptions (an average of
6.97 conceptions for each woman); the material of Bluhm comprises
856 marriages of the wealthier and educated German middle and higher
classes with a total of 3,856 conceptions (averaging 4.50 conceptions
to each woman). Hamburger has counted as conception losses only
miscarriages, premature births, stillbirths, or deaths from illness
before the completion of the sixteenth year. Bluhm has included all
those up to the twentieth year. Both have only included marriages
which have been contracted at least twenty years back. As the births
in these marriages apparently date back to twenty years, all living
children are reckoned as survivors or conception results, even if they
have not attained the sixteenth or twentieth year respectively. This
has influenced the result optimistically, but as it has done so with
both authors alike, the comparison of their results is admissible.

[Sidenote: C 52-1]

Figure 1 shows the +conception losses in marriages of varying
conception numbers+ (Curve A, Hamburger's working-men's families;
Curve B, Bluhm's well-to-do families); both curves confirm Hamburger's
words that "the percentage of the survivors gets smaller in proportion
as the conception number increases." The mounting of Curve B in the
families with ten births is probably a delusion brought about by a
very small number. In the marriages with eleven or more births there
are lost with the well-to-do one quarter and with the working-classes
nearly two-thirds of the conceptions up to the twentieth or sixteenth
year respectively.

[Sidenote: C 52-2]

Figure 2 represents the +share which miscarriages and premature
births have in the conception losses in marriages of different degrees
of productiveness+ (Curve A, Hamburger; Curve B, Bluhm). Amongst
the Berlin labouring classes on the average 17.89 per cent. of all
conceptions are lost through miscarriage and premature birth; for the
wealthier German families the figure is 7.59 per cent.

[Sidenote: C 52-3]

Figure 3 shows the +share which deaths and stillbirths have in
conception losses+. With the labouring classes it amounts on the
average to 32.75 per cent. (Curve A), and in the wealthier families to
10.55 per cent. (Curve B).

[Sidenote: C 52-4]

Figure 4. To investigate whether the continuous decrease in the
percentage of the survivors, going hand in hand with the increase of
maternal conceptions, is caused by the constitutional inferiority
of the offspring as the numerical position increases, Bluhm has
established, in dealing with her material, the loss for each numerical
position (first, second, third, etc., conceptions respectively). If
this were the case, Curve A, which gives the loss according to the
frequency of conception in each marriage, would have to be identical
with Curve B, which gives the loss of first, second, and third, etc.,
conceptions, but this is by no means the case, for only at a very high
numerical position of the conception the curves begin to be parallel.
This proves that Hamburger's "the percentage of the survivors gets
smaller in proportion as the conception number increases" is not
a biological law but only expresses a social phenomenon. With the
increasing number of children there is a decrease in the value of
each individual childlife. The mother is less careful about avoiding
miscarriages; she devotes, and must necessarily devote, less care to
each child; and the risk of infectious diseases which are a frequent
cause of death during infancy increases.

[Sidenote: C 53]

How little the increasing mortality of the later born children up to
the tenth child is based on a biological law is shown in Figure C 53.
+Numerical position of birth and infant mortality up to the age
of five in princely families+, by Ploëtz; 463 seventh to ninth
children show the same mortality as the 614 first born.

Pearson endeavored to prove a high degree of inferiority in the first
born, physically and intellectually as well as morally. But his
results are very open to attack, as Weinberg has recently shown; one
is reminded of Pearson's results in Crzellitzer's Figure C 54 - first
and later born. Crzellitzer writes thus about this - "A +high degree
of myopia+ is +more frequent amongst first born+ than among
later children. The disadvantage of the first born in respect of
myopia is based on a greater hereditary taint and on no other factor.
Where there is no hereditary taint about one quarter to one-third
are affected, no matter whether first, second, third, etc., born.
Also in well-to-do families, where the age of fathers at the time of
procreation is materially higher, the first born are more frequently
myopic than their brothers or sisters."

[Illustration:

First and Later-Born.

Percentage of Frequency of Extreme Short-sightedness.

(After Dr. Crzellitzer.)

Child
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
============================== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====
1,246 children from 216
working-class families. 46.4 33.7 31.4 26.6 26.5 26.0 15.5 18.7

1,246 children from 216
working-class families,
classified according to
presence or absence of
inherited tendency to
short-sightedness.

With inherited tendency 61.6 34.9 27.7 25.5 31.5 32.0 10.5 6.7
Without inherited tendency 35.9 33.7 34.3 24.6 25.0 22.2 19.0 23.3

206 children from 45 well-to-do
families. 63.1 36.1 36.0 36.0 20.0

Figure C 54.]

A large amount of material has been treated by W. Weinberg, in which
tuberculous and non-tuberculous families are compared.

[Sidenote: C 55 & 56]

Figure C 55 - +influence of numerical position of birth on infant
mortality+ and Figure C 56 - +mortality of the first and later
born+. Weinberg writes concerning these: "The parallelograms in
the first row indicate for each position in order of birth how many
children out of every hundred die before the age of 20. On this,
however, the difference in the mortality in families with different
numbers of children has an influence. To counteract this, it has been
calculated how many children in each position would die if within each
family the number of children had no influence, and the actual number
of deaths expressed as a percentage of the expectation calculated in
this way gives parallelograms to the second row. After eliminating the
influence exercised by the size of the family, the increase of the
mortality with the higher birth number appears considerably smaller.
Figure C 56, which compares the mortality of the first and last born
children, is to a certain extent a test of this. This shows clearly a
considerably higher death rate in the last born. Both figures indicate
that children of the same numerical position of birth show a higher
mortality, if from tuberculous families."

[Illustration:

Mortality of Children According to Sequence of Birth.

3,129 Tuberculous and 1,830 Non-Tuberculous Families of Stuttgart,
1873-1889 (after Weinberg).


Key to Tables
- - - - - - -
[N] - non-tuberculous
[T] - tuberculous

Paternal family.

No. of child Percentage of children Death rates expressed in
according to born alive who died before relative figures corrected for
sequence of reaching their 20th year. differences in the death rates
birth. in families differing in size.
============ ========================== ==============================
[N] [T] [N] [T]
===== ===== ===== =====
1 33.9 40.6 90.5 91.3
2 37.4 44.4 101.0 99.5
3 49.4 45.4 109.0 103.5
4 40.1 47.9 105.0 103.0
5 39.5 49.7 101.0 104.0
6 43.5 52.5 103.0 107.0
7 39.0 51.2 92.0 105.0
8 43.2 54.1 96.0 111.5
9 50.8 59.1 101.0 115.0
10 40.2 60.2 101.0 113.5
11-12 50.0 51.7 101.0 97.0
13-18 64.4 52.8 111.0 107.0


Maternal family.

No. of child Percentage of children Death rates expressed in
according to born alive who died before relative figures corrected for
sequence of reaching their 20th year. differences in the death rates
birth. in families differing in size.
============ ========================== ==============================
[N] [T] [N] [T]
===== ===== ===== =====
1 34.6 40.0 92.0 87.0
2 36.5 46.6 96.0 97.0
3 40.6 49.0 107.0 104.0
4 41.7 57.1 107.0 111.0
5 37.6 50.3 91.0 104.0
6 41.8 53.8 97.5 108.0
7 51.3 52.5 116.0 107.0
8 45.9 54.0 102.0 111.0
9 51.1 52.5 100.0 103.0
10 47.6 53.8 100.0 103.0
11-12 47.1 60.0 103.0 130.0
13-18 68.8 62.5 121.0 104.0

Figure C 55.]

[Illustration:

Relative Mortality of the First and Last-born.

3,129 Tuberculous and 1,830 Non-Tuberculous Families of Stuttgart,
1873-1889 (after Weinberg)

Of each 100 living-born there died before reaching their 20th year:

Non-tuberculous Tuberculous
======================= =======================
FIRST-BORN LAST-BORN FIRST-BORN LAST-BORN
========== ========= ========== =========
Paternal Family 33.9 37.2 40.6 49.9
Maternal Family 34.6 37.5 40.0 53.4


Comparison of the mortality of the First and Last-born,
The mortality of the First-born = 100.

Non-tuberculous Tuberculous
======================= =======================
FIRST-BORN LAST-BORN FIRST-BORN LAST-BORN
========== ========= ========== =========
Paternal Family 100 108 100 128
Maternal Family 100 108 100 134


Figure C 56.]

[Sidenote: C 57]

Of a materially greater influence than the numerical position of birth
or the number of children in each family is the length of interval
between births. We point at first to Figure C 57 - +interval between
births and child mortality+, after Ansell and Westergaard, by Dr.
A. Bluhm. She writes in reference to it: "Ansell has demonstrated,
from the material of the National Life Assurance Society of London,
that a child has an increasingly better chance to survive his first
year, the greater the interval between his own birth and that of the
child born before him. If this interval is less than a year, the infant
mortality is double what it is when there is an interval of two years
(15.75% against 7.33%). This influence makes itself felt beyond the
age of infancy up to five years but not in so striking a manner. The
proportion becomes modified to 20% against 12%. As the influence of
the birth interval on child mortality is still very perceptible after
the tenth or later children, it may be assumed that it is not caused
exclusively by the exhaustion of the maternal organism produced by the
rapid sequence of births. The varying length of breast-feeding of the
children has probably also its influence. Though these statistics give
no data about the mode of infant feeding, it is nevertheless probable
that in those families in which there are longer intervals between
consecutive births each child is suckled for a longer period.

[Sidenote: C 58]

+Birth interval and health of the offspring+, after Riffel - v.
d. Velden.

[Sidenote: C 59]

+Influence of the length of the birth interval and the duration of
breast-feeding on infant mortality+, exhibited by Weinberg. The
author writes regarding the latter table "in proportion to the length
of the interval between two births, the mortality of the children
following decreases materially, but this relation only becomes clearly
apparent in families in which several of the children have been suckled
for more than six months."

[Sidenote: C 60, 61 62]

The intimate connection which exists between birth interval and
suckling and the great importance which suckling has under the
favourable influence of a long birth interval is shown in Dr. Agnes
Bluhm's Figures C 60, C 61, and C 62 - +infant nutrition (breast
feeding), number of children and infant mortality+, after Dr.
Marie Baum. "The material is taken from the towns of Gladbach, Rheydt,
Odenkirchen and, Rheindalen, and comprises 1,495, mostly poor families,
with 9,393 cases in which the mother survived childbirth and 9,487
children born alive. In this table only 7,983 children were counted,
because the remainder had not reached the age of one year on the day of
counting. Of these 7,983, there died before the completion of the first
year 1,276, or 15.98%."

+Number of children and child mortality+: Bluhm adds: - "Figure
1 shows in Curve A the +influence of the duration of breast
feeding+; in Curve B +influence of numerical position of birth
on the mortality of the infant+. The very divergent course of
the two curves expresses the very different influence of both these
factors on mortality; the latter is almost exclusively dependent upon
the length of suckling, and shows corresponding with its increase a
continuous and steep decline down to 1.46% from a maximum number of
35%. The very slight increase of the mortality of children suckled for
six weeks compared with those who have not been breast fed at all
is immaterial (35.55% against 35.28%). These figures prove only that
breast feeding up to six weeks does not give the child any protection
against fatal diseases. The influence of the birth number hardly makes
itself felt up to the seventh child, only from the eighth onwards the
power of resistance decreases continuously but not nearly to the same
degree in which it grows with the length of breast-feeding (greatest
difference only 21%). Curve B shows a materially different course from
that of similar curves by other authors, for instance - from Geissler's


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Online LibraryVariousAbstracts of Papers Read at the First International Eugenics Congress → online text (page 8 of 15)