History of Midwifery: Conclusion and References

Midwifery has survived and thrived in Britain and has been revived in the U.S. It would seem that it is still recognised as an important occupation, highly valued by women. However its history has been one of conflict; despite pre-industrial midwives being in positions of relative authority, changes over subsequent centuries eroded this authority. The rise of science as authoritative knowledge, the involvement of men and the influence of medicine on childbirth have all had impact on the status of midwifery and the control of midwives. In the past two centuries, other occupational groups have been vying for control over the midwifery sphere of practice in the UK. Changes in relation to skill mix in maternity services and in supervision set the scene for the potential of professional control remaining an important issue in the future of midwifery practice.

Arney W (1982) Power and the Profession of Obstetrics Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Barker KK (1998) A ship upon a stormy sea: the medicalisation of pregnancy Social Science and Medicine vol47 no8 p1067-1076

Benjamin Y, Walsh D, Taub N (2001) A comparison of partnership caseload midwifery care with conventional midwifery care: labour and birth outcomes Midwifery vol17 (3): 234-240

Bourdillon H (1988) Women as Healers Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Cutter I & Viets H (1964) A Short History of Midwifery WB Saunders & Co

Davis-Floyd RE (1998) Ritual in the hospital: giving birth the American way Birth Gazette vol14 no4 Fall p12-17

David- Floyd RE & Sargent CF (editors) (1997) Childbirth and Authoritative Knowledge: Cross Cultural Perspectives Berkeley: University of California Press

Department of Health and Social Services (1970) The Peel Report London: HMSO

Department of Health (1979) Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act London: HMSO

Department of Health (1993) The Report of the Expert Maternity Group (Changing Childbirth) London: HMSO

Donnison J (1977) Midwives and Medical Men London: Heinemann

Drury C & Staples M (2000) Supervisors and managers in Professional Studies for Midwifery Practice (ed D Fraser) Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone

Duerden J (2002) Supervision at the beginning of a new century in Failure to Progress: The Contraction of the Midwifery Profession (eds R Mander & V Fleming) London: Routledge

Evenden D (1993) Mothers and their midwives in seventeenth century London in The Art of Midwifery (ed H. Marland) London: Routledge

Halksworth G, Bale B & James C (2000) Evaluation of supervision of midwives in Developments in the Supervision of Midwives (ed M Kirkham) Manchester: Books for Midwives Press

Heagerty B (1997) Willing handmaidens of science? The struggle over the new midwife in early twentieth-century England in Reflections on Midwifery (eds MJ Kirkham & ER Perkins) London: Balliere Tindall

Hobby E (1999) Introduction in The Midwives Book of the Whole Art of Midwifery Discovered Jane Sharp (ed E Hobby) New York: Oxford University Press

Kirkham M (1996) Professionalisation past and present: with women or with the powers that be? in Midwifery Care for the Future (ed. D. Kroll) London: Balliere Tindall

Leap N & Hunter B (1993) The Midwife’s Tale: An Oral History from Handywoman to Professional Midwife London: Scarlett Press

Lubic RW (1979) Barriers and Conflict in Maternity Care Innovation New York City Maternity Care Association

Mander R (2002) The midwife and the medical practitioner in Failure To Progress: The Contraction of the Midwifery Profession (edsĀ  R Mander & V Fleming) London: Routledge

Marland H (1993) The Art of Midwifery: Early Modern Midwives in Europe London: Routledge

Marriner-Tomey A (1986) Introduction to analysis of nursing theories in Nursing Theorists and Their Work 2nd edition (ed A Marriner-Tomey) St. Louis: Mosby

Mayes G (2000) Development of the new open learning programme in Developments in the Supervision of Midwives (ed M Kirkham) Books for Midwives Press Manchester

Ministry of Health (1959) Report of the Maternity Services Commission (Cranbrook Report) London: HMSO

Oakley A (1976) Wisewoman and medicine man: changes in the management of childbirth in The Rights and Wrongs of Women (eds A Oakley & J Mitchell) Harmondsworth: Penguin

Oakley A (1986) Feminism, motherhood and medicine- who cares? in What is Feminism (eds J Mitchell & A Oakley) Oxford: Blackwell

Oakley A (1989) Who cares for women? Midwives Chronicle July vol102 no 1218 p214-221

Page L, Beake S, Vail A, McCourt C & Hewison J (1999) Clinical interventions and outcomes of one-to-one midwifery practice Journal of Public Health Medicine 21(4): 243-248

RCM (2010) Maternity Support Workers Roles and Responsibilities Royal College of Midwives www.rcm.org.uk

Rhodes P (1995) A Short History of Clinical Midwifery Hale: Books for Midwives

Rose P (1997) Science and technology: tools in the creation of nursing in Reconstructing Nursing: Beyond Art and Science (eds D Marks-Maran & P Rose) London: Balliere Tindall

Rothman BK (1996) Women, providers and control Journal of Obstetric, Gynaecologic and Neonatal Nursing vol25 no3 March/April p253-256

Sandall J (2013) Midwife-led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women Cochrane Library cochrane.org

Sandall J (2015) The contribution of continuity of midwifery care to high quality maternity care Royal College of Midwives www.rcm.org.uk

Shiva V (1996) Science, nature and gender in Women, Knowledge and Reality 2nd edition (eds A Garry & M Pearsall) New York: Routledge

Short R chairman (1980) Perinatal and neonatal mortality. Second report from the Social Services Committee 1979-80 London: HMSO

Stapleton H, Duerden J & Kirkham M (1998) Evaluation of the Impact of the Supervision of Midwives on Professional Practice and the Quality of Midwifery Care University of Sheffield/ English National Board London

Taylor M (1999) The death of midwifery? It may be closer than we think AIMS Journal vol11 no1 Spring p4-6

Thomas M (2002) Achievements of the past- a platform for building our future? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest March 12:1 p13-17

Towler J & Bramall J (1986) Midwives in History and Society London: Croom Helm

Wilson A (1995) The Making of Man- Midwifery: Childbirth in England 1660-1770 Harvard University Press Cambridge, Mass

Related Categories

This article has been filed in the following categories. Click a category to see related articles or alternatively you can view all categories in the archive.

Share this article

If you enjoyed this article, then please share it to help raise awareness of the Memories of Nursing archive.

Archive Categories

Please select a category below to view the related archive content.