Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Tudor and Stuart England: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Tudor and Stuart England

1st Edition

By Audrey Eccles


152 pages

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Paperback: 9780367001964
pub: 2020-05-31
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Hardback: 9780367001940
pub: 2018-12-17
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pub: 2018-12-12
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Originally published in 1982 Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Tudor and Stuart England traces the development of obstetrics and gynaecology over the past two centuries. Between the 16th and 18th century midwifery passed from a female mystery, employing traditional medicines and superstitions, to a scientifically-based clinical skill, with both gains and losses to the patient. The case-mortality was high enough to make the increasing involvement of male surgeons socially acceptable, despite sexual taboos. Thus, as scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology developed and was applied in the form of new techniques, so the midwives, who had less opportunity and inclination to acquire the new knowledge and skills, lost esteem and by the mid-eighteenth century were increasingly relegated to the service of the poor. The book also examines ideas about sexuality, menstruation, conception, pregnancy and lactation and shows how the views of society about femaleness, marital relations and the management of pregnancy and childbearing were influenced by these notions.

Table of Contents



1. English Obstetrical Textbooks Before 1740

2. The Legacy of the Ancients, and William Harvey

3. The Legacy of the Ancients, and the Anatomists

4. The Female Reproductive System

5. Sexuality and Conception

6. Development and Birth of the Foetus

7. Diagnosis of Pregnancy and Ante-natal Regimen

8. Pregnancy Prevention and Promotion

9. Gynaecology

10. Normal Childbirth

11. The Management of Obstetric Complications

12. ‘The Manuall Practize’ – Operative Delivery

13. Two Centuries of Obstetric Change Reviewed

Appendix: Maternal Mortality: Some Notes on the Willughby Cases



About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: History of Medicine

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1926 and 1995, draw together research by leading academics in the area of medicine and history, and provide a rigorous examination of related key issues. The volume examines the advancement of medicine throughout history from medicine in antiquity to advancements in science during the Victorian period, the set looks at the rise of the medical profession, how medical journals have adapted and contributed to modern medicine, midwifery and surgical practices, whilst also exploring medical history and advancements throughout the world. This set will be of particular interest to academics of history, medicine, sociology and anthropology respectively.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General