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A Treatise on the Art of Midwifery

Setting Forth Various Abuses Therein, Especially as to the Practice With Instruments

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1. Auflage, 2021


Published in 1760, midwife Elizabeth Nihell wrote this book intending to educate soon to be parents on the role of the midwife. Elizabeth wanted to shed light on the difference between the midwife and the male midwife.


In the 18th century, the demand for male midwives increased as the use of obstetrical forceps was popularised. Many believed that having the device and a male-midwife improved the chances of a successful delivery, and they were both used increasingly in wealthier families.


Elizabeth felt that male midwives used forceps too eagerly to expedite the delivery, and that this increased the risk of injury to infant and mother alike. A Treatise on the Art of Midwifery was written in part to explain the dangers of obstetric forceps and to advocate for the use of experienced midwives, as their knowledge and patience would result in fewer infant injuries and a lower mortality rate.


Most importantly, Elizabeth encourages expecting parents to gather information and make the decision that they feel is the best fit for their unborn child. There is no doubt that Elizabeth was passionate about obstetrics, and this shows throughout her book.
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