Item #1772 [WOMEN’S HEALTH] Chto takoe zhenskie bolezni [i.e. What Women Disease Is]. D. Mikhailov.
[WOMEN’S HEALTH] Chto takoe zhenskie bolezni [i.e. What Women Disease Is]
[WOMEN’S HEALTH] Chto takoe zhenskie bolezni [i.e. What Women Disease Is]

[WOMEN’S HEALTH] Chto takoe zhenskie bolezni [i.e. What Women Disease Is]

Item #1772

[Moscow]: Izd. Otdelom Okhrany Materinstva i mladenchestva N.K.Z.: Sovremennye problemy, [1924]. 32 pp.: ill. 17,5x11,5 cm. In original printed wrappers with publisher logo on front cover. Some soiling, otherwise very good. First edition. Scarce.

One of the initiatives of the Soviet 1920s was establishment of sex education across the country. Barred as shameful, information on this part of human bodies was out of access to most
people, especially illiterate peasants. They called unprofessional healers in case of emergency and frequently aggravated problems.
In this early Soviet brochure, Dr Mikhailov educated women about possible diseases of the female reproductive system and complications of giving birth. Such publications were commissioned by the Maternity and Child Protection Department. The MCP Organization was established in 1918 under the People's Commissariat of State Charity headed by Alexandra Kollontai. The first director of the department was revolutionary and physician Vera Lebedeva (1881-1968). In the pre-revolutionary period, she was arrested for illegal literature and captured in prison while she was heavily pregnant. After the jail, Lebedeva carried out medical enlightenment for the Russian province, then worked in an obstetric clinic in Geneva. In
emigration, she met Kollontai and started to develop an idea of a maternity benefit program.
She headed this department in 1918-1929. The Maternity and Child Protection Department organized a chain of institutions for mothers’ and children’s care and education. Among them
are houses for newborn babies and homeless mothers, women’s consulting centers, dairy kitchens, nurseries and maternity wards. To decrease terrifying women’s mortality, to prevent
a huge number of crimes, MCP released books and posters, held educational exhibitions and lectures. Therefore, social and political activities of Soviet women grew.
This brochure opens with basics about women’s health: internal and external sex organs, menstrual cycles. The author writes on conception and development of a fetus, process of pregnancy and hygiene during it, giving birth and postpartum care for a mother. Then he turns to complications and diseases. According to him, about 50.000 women
died because of puerperal fever in Russia in the early 1920s. He elaborates on placenta accreta and aftermath of this condition, miscarriage and surgical abortion, infertility, risks of gonorrhea and syphilis. “When getting married, do not forget to ask your future husband if he is healthy. If misfortune happened to him and he was ill with syphilis, do not rebuke him, but ask if he has recovered well. Go with him to a doctor and find out if you can marry him.” – the author writes at the end.

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