“Virginia Apgar and the National Foundation’s Expanded Program: Birth Defects, Teratogens, & Expanding Prenatal Risks (1952-1974)”

26 Oct 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Laurel Heights 474

Event Type
Non-CSTMS Event

Heather Dron

This lecture traces the National Foundation’s (later, the March of Dimes) shifting mission and popularization of the term birth defects, starting in 1958. I examine Virginia Apgar’s career as an advocate and show the complexity of efforts to research and ameliorate birth defects by addressing environmental factors acting during the prenatal period. If much of the historiography of pregnancy addresses the impact of biomedical tools of visualization and prenatal diagnosis, I link postwar philanthropic and medical enthusiasm for understanding and addressing the environmental origins of congenital anomalies to the rise of the fetal patient and further characterization of pregnancy as a risky state. 

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