Every country wants to know where its strengths lie, where it surpasses other countries in its achievements. Despite admirable rankings in other regards, the United States finds itself in the unpleasant first place slot for maternal mortality in the developed world. In fact, maternal mortality in the United States is still growing. Touching upon role of class, status, and race, “Maternal Mortality: Mothers, Medicine, and the Man-Midwife” jumps back to 18th century Scotland to start investigating how we have arrived at this crossroads today. Imagine how shocking it must have been to learn that your friend had hired a male doctor, and not a midwife like everybody else, for the birth of her child in 1780 Edinburgh. And if it was so shocking, then why did so many others start preferring these “man-midwives” over capable, traditional female midwives? Social trends and medical advancements are often interconnected, and those intersections in history might shed light on our own society and the role that medicine can play in shaping it.
Presented by Mary Kate Wolken
Honors senior, College of Arts and Sciences
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