What are the Key Moments in the History of Midwifery?

Hundred years ago women began to help other women during childbirth.

The Midwifery Today reports that the first request for midwifery license was in New York City in 1716.

Because it wasn’t common for doctors to have formal education in the past, midwives were highly requested because of their large knowledge and experience.

The first formal training for midwives was recorded in 1765.

It was interesting that aspiring midwives didn’t feel comfortable having male instructors.

Another challenge that occurred when people tried to establish formal education for midwives was that many women were illiterate, and classes were practically impossible.

Not until the 1800s, were the doctors called for childbirth in middle-class families.

By the end of the 19th century, doctors started to use anesthesia and the delivery moved toward hospitals.

From the 1900s, doctors were present at half of the birth in the country, and midwives were called only when a family doesn’t have money to pay for doctor’s service.

The economic boom that happened in the early 1920s and national trends showed that upper and middle-class women preferred doctors for their childbirth, while lower-class choose midwives.

Next, more and more childbirth started to happen in hospitals, and by the 1950s, the number of hospital childbirth reached the highest number ever recorded. At least 88% of childbirth happed in the hospitals.

At the same time, the field of obstetrics introduced new principles in childbirth and focused on family-centered care, which improved the formal education of midwives.

However, 97% of all childbirth in the 1960s happened in hospitals.

The midwifery gained its popularity in the 1970s when women’s movement started to rise.

The feminists believed that childbirth is natural and that women don’t have to go into hospitals and go into labor under physician supervision.

In the mid-1980s, the American Medical Association prohibited midwives practice without physician supervision.

Nowadays, midwives have to pass the high standard education and they are highly trained and educated professionals.

They work with obstetricians and provide a holistic approach to maintaining women’s health and maternity care.

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