Friday, January 28, 2011
The Art and Practice of Midwifery
The art and practice of midwifery, the attending of women in childbirth, is known to have been practiced in all ancient and early societies, and is one of the oldest formal professions. While most cultures of the world have or continue to utilize women as birthing assistants, the term midwife is predominantly a designation applied to women of Europe and the United States, where this art has evolved into a licensed practice. Almost exclusively of the female realm, midwifery is clearly acknowledged in the earliest books of the Old Testament, and was recognized as an important role within ancient Greek and Roman society. During the middle ages, however, the midwife’s function began to disappear when it became directly affected by rising superstition associated with an appalling rate of infant mortality and a harsh stigma attached to mothers who could not deliver their babies unaided. Read more . . .