The midwife: a medical professional, a friend in a woman's hour of greatest need, and a potent social and cultural symbol. Though the role of midwife has existed since time immemorial, it is only since the Victorian era that it has become a recognized and regulated profession. This book, from social history expert Susan Cohen, looks at the role of the midwife in Britain from ancient times to the present day, paying particular attention to the last 150 years with its incredible medical and social advances.
It is a fully illustrated tour that includes the founding of the Royal College of Midwives in 1881, the First World War, fictional midwives such as Dickens' Sarey Gamp, the forming of Britain's National Health Service, and the Central Midwives Board. It also looks at the increasing medicalization of childbirth and the countervailing trend for giving birth at home.