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A Child Is Born (book)

A Child Is Born (full title: A Child Is Born: The drama of life before birth in unprecedented photographs. A practical guide for the expectant mother; original Swedish title: Ett barn blir till) is a 1965 photographic book by Swedish photojournalistLennart Nilsson. The book consists of photographs charting the development of the human embryo and foetus from conception to birth; it is reportedly the best-selling illustrated book ever published. Nilsson's photographs are accompanied by text, written by doctors, describing prenatal development and offering advice on antenatal care. The images were among the first of developing foetuses to reach a wide popular audience. Their reproduction in the April 30, 1965 edition of Lifemagazine sparked so much interest that the entire print run, of eight million copies, sold out within four days; they won Nilsson the American National Press Association Picture of the Year award, and reached a sufficiently iconic status to be chosen for launch into space aboard theNASA probes Voyager 1andVoyager 2. The book and its images have figured in debates aboutabortion and the beginning of life, and the book is the subject of a substantial body of feminist critique.


The book proceeds along two "tracks": one series of photographs and accompanying text depict the development of the foetus from conception through to birth; the other shows a woman and her partner as her pregnancy progresses. Early images show sperm proceeding toward an ovum; cell division, implantation, and the development of the embryo are then illustrated. The text accompanying the photographs of the woman supplies some antenatal care advice.


Life, an American magazine, marked the publication of A Child Is Born by reproducing in its 30 April 1965 edition 16 of the book's photographs. The pictures were run simultaneously in the BritishSunday Timesand inParis Match. All eight million printed copies of Life containing the images sold out within four days. The book became reportedly the all-time best-selling illustrated book published; its ubiquity led the academicBarbara Duden to deem it and its pictures "part of the mental universe of our time". Images, text, and diagrams from the book have been reproduced in works as diverse as guides to child protection, development science and anatomy textbooks, and pregnancy manuals. It is widely cited as a pregnancy resource in parenting manuals, and the academic Rebecca Kukla has argued that the book was so culturally influential as to have mediated and to some extent determined the way pregnant women understand their own pregnancies. Images from the book were sent into space aboard the Voyager 1andVoyager 2space probes. TheAmerican Library Association regards it, alongside Gray's Anatomy, as a core medical reference work for libraries.

The book was often cited as presenting the first images of a live foetus in utero. In fact, Geraldine Flanagan's The First Nine Months Of Life had in 1962 compiled a similar set of foetal images from medical archives.

The images played an important role in debates about abortion and the beginning of human life. Nilsson himself declined to comment on the origins of some of the photographs' subjects, which in fact included many images of terminated and miscarried foetuses: all but one of the images that appeared in Life were of foetuses that had been surgically removed from the womb. Nilsson also refused to be drawn on the question of the point at which life begins, describing himself as a journalist and the debate as one for other authorities. Pro-life campaigners perceived and presented the book's images as evidence that a foetus is a well-developed, discrete human person from well before birth. Pro-choice activists, on the other hand, have portrayed the images (and the technology they represent) as evidence of medical and imaging techniques that now allow serious foetal defects to be detected very early and furnish pregnant parents with more information upon which to base choices. Some critics have described as ironic the image's popularity with pro-life campaigners who argue that the foetus is a living human, given that many of them depict (surgically or spontaneously) aborted foetuses.

Both the popularity of the images with pro-life campaigners and the photographic techniques, which have been described as eliding the presence of the woman in whose womb the foetus is developing, have made the book the subject of substantial feminist critique. Some of these criticisms have addressed the book's language, which often describes the photographs' subjects as "persons" or "babies". Others argue that the focus on the foetus that the book promoted rendered the woman in whose body it was developing invisible and unimportant, or contributed to an atmosphere in which the woman and the foetus were seen as remote, opposite, and in competition with one another for rights and personhood. Others, though, have described Nilsson's book as placing the story of foetal development firmly within the context of the woman's body and life. Some scholars have sought to deconstruct the techniques used and choices made in the images' production, pointing out for example that lighting magnification is used to give month-old foetuses the appearance of a much more viable six-month-old, and lightning techniques used to replace the foetus's deep red skin tone with a "baby-like" pink or gold tone.

Publishing history

By the first decade of the 21st century the book had reached a fourth edition and been published in 20 countries. A CD version of the book was produced in 1994, rendering the images interactive. How Was I Born?, an adaptation of the book's text for children, featured many of the same images.

From Yahoo Answers

Question:If a child who fell had fallen 5 days before, with no symptoms of internal bleeding, is it possible that the year old baby still had internal bleeding? I don't think it is...i'm not sure. I know my own child! I'm just asking. No he doesn't have it, i was just curious.

Answers:Yes, he could still have internal bleeding. Often internal bleeding can only be stopped with surgery.

Question:The mother is 21 years older than the child. In 6 years from now, the mother will be 5 times as old as the child. Question: Where's the father?

Answers:Let C be the age of the child in years Let 21 + C be the age of the mother in years Let C + 6 be the age of the child six years from now Let C + 27 be the age fo the mother six years from now C + 27 = 5(C + 6) C + 27 = 5C + 30 Subtract 5C from both sides: -4C + 27 = 30 Subtract 27 from both sides: -4C = 3 Divide both sides by -4: C = -3/4 years A year has 12 months, so multiply to get the age in months: C = -3/4 years * 12 mo/yr = -9 months The age of the "child" is -9 months, in other words, 9 months prior to birth. That would be the moment of conception. I assume the father is VERY close to the mother at the moment of conception.

Question:My 4 year old son already knows the multiplication table, can add and subtract in the hundreds, and just loves math and numbers. His teachers in a Montessori school are doing a great job nurturing his love for math as well. As a parent, what can I do to help him and nurture his passion for numbers? Any recommendations as to books or websites I can use? Thanks for your advice

Answers:Teach him abacus Show him how math is used everywhere. SUDOKU! It's not really math, but it's a fun thinking game that uses numbers. Get puzzles that involve math. Do the math-a-thon for St. Judes. The workbook/CD have math problems in a more entertaining mode. www.funbrain.com is a fun website for kids too. Also, remember to encourage him in other areas, like writing. YOur son is a very gifted child, except you have to remember one thing: TO let him have fun and free time sometimes too. ^.^

Question:I didn't notice the mold on the side of the plastic container until he wanted a second drink. Will he be alright.

Answers:Yeah he'll be ok. Most molds from food won't hurt anyone.

From Youtube

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