"Midwives, Society and Childbirth" examines midwives' lives and work in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries on a national and international scale, focusing on six countries from Europe, including Denmark, Italy, England and Spain, and the United States. Questioning many conventional historical assumptions, this book is fundamental to a better understanding of the effect on midwives of the unprecedented progress of science, especially obstetric science, from the late nineteenth century. The contributors challenge the traditional bleak picture of midwives' decline in the face of institutional obstetrics, medical technology, and the growing power of the medical profession. Ultimately an original and finely nuanced picture emerges, where the experience and status of midwives was affected above all by regional influences, and where the importance of locality is stressed.

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