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Martha and a Man-Midwife

  a time of transition in midwifery
non-Shockwave version also available


At the end of the eighteenth century, some male doctors began to build their medical practices by assisting normal births, previously the exclusive sphere of women. A controversy raged in Britain and America about these new man-midwives while Martha Ballard practiced midwifery in Maine. The 1793 Man-Mid-Wife cartoon that you see above depicts one view of the controversy in the form of a "Monster," a half-male, half-female midwife.

The Controversy Martha and a Man-Midwife Who was Dr. Ben Page? Summing Up
Learn what contemporary authors said about the man-midwife controversy, pro and con. Explore an encounter between Martha and a man-midwife on October 9 & 10, 1794. Learn about man-midwife Dr. Ben Page from his financial records, letters, a medical journal, newspaper ads, and Martha's diary. See the film and book interpretations. Find out how the roles of midwives and doctors have changed since 1794.

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Martha and a man-midwife | one rape. two stories.