For as long as women have given birth, there have been women assisting in the process. Ancient mythology depicts goddesses as birth attendants, “birthing stools” and “midwives” are words found in Biblical birth stories and in ancient tribes, women in labor were supported by female family members. It is only natural for a woman who has been through pregnancy and childbirth to support and assist a mother-to-be.
The word itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words “mid” and “wyf” meaning “with woman”. Meanwhile, the Latin word for midwife is “obstetrix” derived from the word “obstare” which means “to stand before” (as a midwife stands before a birthing woman).
Up until the 1900’s, the subject of pregnancy and childbirth in medical schools was known as “Midwifery”. In the 1900’s the subject was changed to “Obstetrics”.
Be a part of history: Birth with a Midwife!
Read a complete history of Midwifery here at the “Our Bodies Ourselves” website.