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Angela Davis: Drunken Midwives and Snooty Surgeons: A Short History of Giving Birth

Angela Davis is a historian at the University of Warwick interested in motherood, parenting and childcare.

The history of childbirth and midwifery has seen some dramatic changes, not only in new medical discoveries that vastly improved the safety of both mother and baby but also in social trends and the way we view giving birth.

The 18th century witnessed the rise of medical intervention and a more professionalised class of midwife – and of accoucheurs or men-midwives. But developments haven’t always been welcomed, straightforward or accepted. The story of maternity care has been (and remains) complex and often contradictory.

Today, the internet has enabled the exchange of more information than ever before and a new debate over whether childbirth has become too medicalised and subject to the power and authority of doctors....

Read entire article at The Conversation