You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

30 ways having a baby has changed over the last 50 years

Stacker Logo By Keri Wiginton of Stacker | Slide 1 of 31: If a woman gave birth in the 1960s, she may not remember the details and her husband may not have been present for the delivery. The practice of “twilight sleep,” when women were given a cocktail of drugs that erased their memories of the event, didn’t go out of favor until the 1970s, around the same time fathers were allowed in the delivery room. Those days are over and giving birth today looks nothing like it did just a half-century ago.

A lot is different 50 years later. While physically having a baby has changed little—although the number of cesarean births has increased—the way women get pregnant has. In 1981, the first U.S. baby conceived through in vitro fertilization—otherwise known as the first “test-tube baby”—was born. Since then, advances in fertility treatments have helped millions of women have children. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is one mom who used IVF and did so with success. She openly discussed her struggles with infertility and how her two daughters were conceived through the process.

Women are also having babies later in life with decreasing risk. Compared to 50 years ago, more women are having babies in their 30s than in their 20s, and the fertility rate for women over 40 has increased. With the help of donor eggs, a 65-year-old woman from Germany gave birth to a set of quadruplets. In 2016, an American woman gave birth to her own grandchild. 

Stacker combined news reports with data from Pew Research Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make a list of 30 ways having a baby has changed over the past 50 years. Read on to find out how different having a baby was 50 years ago.

You may also like: 50 ways America is different from 50 years ago

30 ways having a baby has changed over the last 50 years

If a woman gave birth in the 1960s, she may not remember the details and her husband may not have been present for the delivery. The practice of “twilight sleep,” when women were given a cocktail of drugs that erased their memories of the event, didn’t go out of favor until the 1970s, around the same time fathers were allowed in the delivery room. Those days are over and giving birth today looks nothing like it did just a half-century ago.

A lot is different 50 years later. While physically having a baby has changed little—although the number of cesarean births has increased—the way women get pregnant has. In 1981, the first U.S. baby conceived through in vitro fertilization—otherwise known as the first “test-tube baby”—was born. Since then, advances in fertility treatments have helped millions of women have children. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is one mom who used IVF and did so with success. She openly discussed her struggles with infertility and how her two daughters were conceived through the process.

Women are also having babies later in life with decreasing risk. Compared to 50 years ago, more women are having babies in their 30s than in their 20s, and the fertility rate for women over 40 has increased. With the help of donor eggs, a 65-year-old woman from Germany gave birth to a set of quadruplets. In 2016, an American woman gave birth to her own grandchild

Stacker combined news reports with data from Pew Research Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make a list of 30 ways having a baby has changed over the past 50 years. Read on to find out how different having a baby was 50 years ago.

© Canva

More from Stacker

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon