Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
“One justification I’ve often heard is that labor pain ‘empowers’ women or gives them a sense of ‘control,’” writes Sanghavi. “But many women accept pain for a more mundane reason: They are poorly educated about obstetrical anesthesia and don’t have access to compassionate and technologically advanced medical care.” Other reasons for a drug-free birth proffered in this pro-epidural article: Some people, including natural childbirth proponent Ina May Gaskin, believe that birth offers the potential for an ecstatic labor that includes intense orgasms. And many people simply don’t believe that birth pain needs to be treated because it’s not pathologic.
Still, nearly two-thirds of women delivering at large hospitals nationwide do receive epidural anesthesia, probably because, as Sanghavi writes so vividly, “the vaginal canal is so richly supplied with nerve endings and pain fibers that it’s almost uniquely suited to create agony.”
If you can get beyond Sanghavi’s bias against natural childbirth — at the end of the piece he admits that having a baby without pain medication strikes him as “odd” — there are some fascinating historical details in the article. My favorite: Fanny Appleton, the second wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was the first woman in America known to receive anesthesia during childbirth. A world traveler, she knew that women in Europe were receiving drugs to quell the pain of labor and delivery and wanted to score some for herself. When Appleton couldn’t find an obstetrician to dispense any, however, she resourcefully called on a Boston dentist for some vapors. Appleton, who had already birthed two children naturally, described the dentist to a friend this way: “[One] would like to have the bringer of such a blessing represented by some grand, lofty figure like Christ, the divine suppresser of spiritual suffering.”
Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.More Lori Leibovich.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.