Midwives, infant and maternal health in Monmouthshire, 1900-1938

  • Janet King

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The purpose of this study is to extend knowledge concerning the health of expectant and nursing mothers and infants in working-class districts of Wales, particularly mothers and infants residing in the county of Monmouthshire during the 1920s and 1930s.

    The thesis covers the period 1900-1938 and considers the implementation of various Acts of Parliament and the effects of the legislation on the lives of women and infants. The main Acts covered are the Midwives Act 1902 and 1936, the Notification of Births Act 1907 and 1915, the Maternity and Child Welfare Act 1918 and the 'Special Areas' Act of 1934.

    Through the use of mainly primary sources and oral testimony, it will be argued that these social policies did extend the welfare system and bring benefits to mothers and infants. However, at the same time, the implementation of the policies exerted control over the realm of motherhood to such an extent that pregnancy, child-birth and infant care were irrevocably transported from the natural and familiar domestic sphere, into the unnatural and unfamiliar sphere of the public, male-dominated medical world.

    Furthermore, the policies which were initially introduced to improve the health of both mothers and infants were limited, discriminatory and did little to address the poverty, which was a reality of life for mothers in the working-class districts of Wales.
    Date of AwardOct 1999
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Adamson (Supervisor) & Deidre Beddoe (Supervisor)

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