Midwives and Medical Men: A History of the Struggle for the Control of Childbirth (Routledge Revivals) (Hardcover)
Originally published in 1977 and as a second edition in 1988, this book introduces the reader to the women at the top of the midwifery profession up until the 17th Century who attended the aristocracy and Royalty. The author shows how their successors were gradually driven out of the better paid work until in the middle of the 19th Century it appeared that attendance on childbearing women would inevitably become the male monopoly it has virtually become in North America. This downward trend was reversed, thanks to efforts to preserve for women the choice of female attendance in childbirth and also to the labour of philanthropists to improve maternity services to the poor. However, the drive for the institutionalization and mechanization of childbirth during the 20th Century as well as a chronic shortage of midwives, has once again shone a spotlight on the profession. This unique history of developments in midwifery will be of interest to students of medical politics, 19th Century social history, the sociology of the professions and gender studies.