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Midwifery in Saint-Petersburg in the 1820s-1880s

Student: Anna Krotova

Supervisor: Marina Loskutova

Faculty: School of Arts and Humanities

Educational Programme: History (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2020

The present research aims to challenge the traditional image of the decline of female obstetrics throughout the XIX century and focuses on the midwives in St. Petersburg in 1820s–1880s. Until the last decades of the XVIII century, the state did not interfere in the issues of childbirth and did not regulate the midwives’ performance. The opening of midwifery schools and maternity hospitals within them marked the beginning of an institutionalized system of midwifery training and the medicalization of childbirth practices. The establishment of the St. Petersburg Fizikat, a supervisory organ that controlled the medical institutions, self-employed practitioners, and city’s sanitary condition, helped to establish control over female obstetrical practice. The research intends to explain how female midwifery practice functioned in the capital of the Russian Empire and how did the legal mechanism controlling it occurred. The research relies on the collections of midwifery schools, St. Petersburg’s Fizikat (1868 — General Medical Department) and the legislative acts concerning midwifery. It appeals to the approaches of social history of medicine.

Full text (added May 24, 2020)

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