Midwives had a clear and important role in the 19th century laurel thatcher ulrich explored this in her pulitzer prize winning book a midwifes tale the life of martha ballard based on ballards diary that was written from 1785 through 1812. Midwives were the answer local women usually with children of their own learned midwifery as apprentices as did many 19th century physicians observing and helping with deliveries honed their skills and exposed them to the variety of problems theyd face when working on their own to be a midwife required help at home. Midwifery was legitimated through the midwives act but the control of midwifery practice remained largely in the hands of other groups the developments in midwifery within the twentieth century are a reflection of the continued battle for recognised status. A number of groups tried to take control of the organisation and education of midwifery in britain through the nineteenth century for example florence nightingale set up a training school and the female medical society organised a ladies medical college
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