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The section on childbirth contains much advice on postpartum care but less about delivery itself.) Bull, Thomas, Hints to Mothers, For the Management of Health During the Period of Pregnancy, and in the Lying-in Room: with an Exposure of Popular Errors in Connexion with those Subjects and Hints Upon Nursing, Wiley & Putnam, New York, 1877. Has some information on what was worn during pregnancy, ex., corseting, what was worn during labor by mother and birth attendants (early man-midwives donned nightgowns over their clothing to make their patients more comfortable! (Not, as it might appear, a history of female midwives.
(A Victorian “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” Covers health during pregnancy, determining pregnancy, “diseases” of pregnancy, prevention of miscarriage, determining the due date, delivery, postpartum care of mother and child, and breastfeeding. He cautions against self-administration of chloroform.) Caton, Donald, What a Blessing She Had Chloroform: The Medical Response to the Pain of Childbirth from 1800 to the Present, Yale University Press, 1999, ISBN: 0300075979. Though the subtitle indicates 1800 as the start of the period covered, the coverage really starts with 1847, when ether was first used for labor pain. ), clothing for breastfeeding, how babies were fitted out and the pomp associated with christenings of upper-class babies.) Cutter, Irving S., and Viets, Henry R., A Short History of Midwifery, W. This is really a history of obstetrics, with excerpts from period writings on the subject dating from 1560 onward.
(Not a long book, but a good basic reference on the beliefs and practices of the periods covered with some interesting observations.) Engelmann, George J., Labor Among Primitive Peoples, J. (Scholarly study of Roman women’s roles both as patients and as medical practitioners; includes information on sexuality, pregnancy, childbirth, midwives.) Gelis, Jacques, History of Childbirth: Fertility, Pregnancy and Birth in Early Modern Europe, Northeastern University Press, Boston, 1991, ISBN: 1555531024, 1555531059.
(Detailed and respectful study of the “unwritten” history of childbirth: folklore, traditional practices, “old wives’ tales”. of Commerce, National Technical Information Service, 1983, ISBN: 3805306008. Most notable for its lack of information on childbirth attendants.
Includes interesting details on both social and medical aspects, including diet, medicines and practices used. (Comments: Early study of upright postures used during labor and other pregnancy and childbirth practices among the “uncivilized”.