Giving Birth in Eighteenth-Century England: New Historical Perspectives

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This fascinating new book radically rewrites all that we know about eighteenth-century childbirth by placing women’s voices at the centre of the story. From quickening through to confinement, giving caudle, delivery and lying-in, birth was once a complex ritual that involved entire communities. Drawing on an extensive and under-researched body of materials, such as letters, diaries and recipe books, this book offers critical new perspectives on the history of the family and community. It explores the rituals of childbirth, from birthing clothing to the foods traditionally eaten before and after birth, and also how a woman’s relationship with her family, husband, friends and neighbours changed during pregnancy and beyond. In this important and deeply moving study, we are invited on a detailed and emotive journey through motherhood in an age of immense intellectual and sociocultural change. 
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherUniversity of London
Number of pages254
ISBN (Electronic)1914477065
ISBN (Print)9781914477072, 978-1914477065
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2022

Publication series

NameNew Historical Perspectives
PublisherUniversity of London Press


  • Childbirth
  • Motherhood
  • Eighteenth-century England
  • Women's health
  • Medical history
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Obstetrics
  • Midwifery
  • Social History
  • Gender roles
  • reproductive health
  • cultural practices
  • Historical perspectives
  • Maternal mortality
  • Pregnancy
  • Women's experiences
  • Healthcare
  • Femininity
  • Family life
  • Cultural norms
  • Historical research


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