Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski published Not of Woman Born in 1990. The book is a historical account of the cesarean birth procedure, hereafter c-section, during the Renaissance in Europe. A c-section is a surgical procedure that medical professionals use to deliver a fetus through an incision in a pregnant person’s abdomen. During the medieval and Renaissance periods, midwives performed c-sections on pregnant women after they had died when there was a chance that the fetus was still alive. They did this so the midwife could get the baby baptized, enabling it to be buried in sacred ground after death. Not of Woman Born traces how the procedure evolved in the late fifteenth and sixteenth century to be more commonly performed by male surgeons, rather than midwives, to save both the mother and the fetus. Blumenfeld-Kosinski provides historical, religious, and cultural context for understanding how people viewed and practiced c-sections in Europe during medieval and Renaissance times, in contrast to how people view and rely on the widespread delivery procedure in modern times.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, or STD, caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Common symptoms of the disease include painful urination and genital discharge. There are records of historical discussions of gonorrhea in ancient civilizations and during the Middle Ages, but scientists did not begin investigating the scientific causes and treatments of the STD until the sixteenth century. In the 1700s, physicians attributed gonorrhea to the same cause as another STD, syphilis. Later, in the 1800s, researchers discovered the two diseases were not the same and identified the bacteria N. gonorrhoeae that causes gonorrhea. By the 1900s, researchers began using antibiotics to target the bacteria, but many drugs eventually developed antibiotic resistance. In 2020, the World Health Organization, or WHO, estimated that 82.4 million individuals contracted gonorrhea globally, and as of 2024, researchers continue to experiment with various antibiotic drugs to provide adequate treatment for the disease.