Risk, Ideology, and ‘Normal Birth’

On Saturday 12 August 2017, The Times published a piece by Chris Smyth on changing attitudes towards terms such as ‘normal birth’ in the UK, which has sparked a chain of letters to the editor, a controversy in the blogosphere, and a range of follow-up articles from publications like The Guardian and the Evening Standard. … Read more

Birth and Midwifery in the Media

Below are links to two comparatively recent articles on birth and midwifery which may be of interest to our network. The first is a reflection on the liminal state of (non-)pregnancy, particularly in its earlier stages. Second, there is a link to an article which juxtaposes ancient and modern approaches to midwifery. This blog post … Read more

Thackray Medical Museum secures Arts Council England NPO Funding

We are thrilled to hear that one of our partners, the Thackray Medical Museum, has been awarded national funding of over £880 000 for 2018-22 by Arts Council England. This is the first time that the museum has secured funding as a National Portfolio Organisation. The Thackray plans to use this grant by creating new … Read more

2 New Videos featuring Professor Helen King

We’re thrilled to announce that there are two new videos on our Youtube feed, both featuring Professor Helen King of The Open University. View the videos below to learn more about having your first baby at 42 (in the 1740s), and quintuplet births in the 18th century:

Thanks, Helen, for sharing your knowledge. Happy watching!

Photos and Programme from March 2017 Workshop

Programme: March workshop AHRC

Pregnancy and Propaganda in Historical Perspective
Bahareh Goodarzi’s presentation


Dr Sean Lang and Prof. James Drife


One of the Thackray Medical Museum’s takes on the history of childbirth in England


The Thackray’s controversial graphic representation of maternal mortality

Stories from the Birthing Room

London Renaissance Seminar: Stories from the birthing room Thursday 18 May 3pm-8.30pm Room G04, Birkbeck College School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, WC1 What happened in the early modern birthing room? Though the scene of birth is often understood as secret, a surprising number of texts tell us its story. Exploring material from Mary Tudor and … Read more