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Mrs Stone & Dr SmellieEighteenth-Century Midwives and their Patients$
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Robert Woods and Chris Galley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381410

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381410.001.0001

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date: 19 February 2019

Midwives, their women and patients

Midwives, their women and patients

(p.9) 1 Midwives, their women and patients
Mrs Stone & Dr Smellie

Robert Woods

Chris Galley

Liverpool University Press

This book investigates midwifery practice in eighteenth-century England. It explores the ways in which male and female midwives, accoucheurs, apothecary-surgeons, and obstetricians performed their professional tasks. It also looks at their impact on the risks of childbirth. Drawing on medical history and combining this with historical demography, it considers how midwives delivered women during the period and how they coped with problems such as unnatural presentations, haemorrhage, miscarriage, and stillbirths. It also looks at the contributions of Sarah Stone, a Somerset midwife, and William Smellie, a Scottish physician. This introductory chapter describes the role of birth attendants as discussed by medical historians; the use of the concept of patient outcomes to evaluate effectiveness; and estimates for maternal, late-foetal (stillbirths) and early-neonatal (first-week deaths) mortality rates in England in the eighteenth century. Finally, it presents midwifery case notes written by Stone, Smellie, and others.

Keywords:   midwifery, midwives, childbirth, women, miscarriage, stillbirths, Sarah Stone, William Smellie, patient outcomes, mortality rates

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