The Making of Man-Midwifery: Childbirth in England, 1660-1770, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Making of Man-Midwifery

Childbirth in England, 1660-1770, 1st Edition

By Adrian Wilson


250 pages

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Paperback: 9780367077716
pub: 2020-05-30
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Originally published 1995 The Making of Man-Midwifery looks at how the eighteenth century witnessed a revolution in childbirth practices. By the last quarter of the century increasing numbers of babies were being delivered by men – a dramatic shift from the women-only ritual that had been standard throughout Western history. This authoritative and challenging work explains this transformation in medical practice and remarkable shift in gender relations. By tracing the actual development and transmission of the new midwifery skills through the period, the book addresses both technological and feminist arguments of the period. The study is distinctive in treating childbirth as both a bodily and a social event and in explaining how the two were intimately connected. Practical obstetrics is shown to have been shaped by the social relations surrounding deliveries, and specific techniques were associated with distinctive places and political allegiances. The books studies how increasing numbers emergent male-midwives had overtaken women in the skill of delivering children and how as such expectant mothers chose to use these male-midwives, thus heralding the growth of male-midwives in the period.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

Part I: The Traditional Management of Birth

2. The Bodily Processes of Childbirth

3. The Practices of Midwives

4. Traditional Obstetric Surgery

Part II: From Obstetric Surgery to Man-Midwifery

5. The Chamberlen Instruments and Their Sale

6. The Forceps Contested: The London Deventrians

7. The Impact of the Forceps

Part III: Whig and Tory Men-Midwives

8. Conflict and Initiative in London, 1720-40

9. A New Synthesis: William Smellie

10. John Bamber, the Vectis, and the City of London

11. New Institutions: The London Lying-in Hospitals

Part IV: The Man as Midwife

12. The Varieties of Man-Midwifery

13. William Hunter: The Man as Midwife

14. Two Female Cultures

15. Conclusion



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