Transforming childbirth practices: New style midwifery in China, 1912 – 1949

Li, M., 2020, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 222 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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  • Title and contents

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Over the last three centuries, childbirth has gradually become an issue of public concern worldwide, being linked increasingly to the welfare of populations and nations. During this process, medical improvements in obstetrics and midwifery have been introduced to daily childbirth practices by medical authorities and enforced by state governments in many countries, significantly contributing to the decline of childbirth-related mortality rates. This dissertation focuses on the transformation of childbirth practices in China during the Republican era (1912-1949) and its impacts on neonatal, infant, and maternal mortality rates. By using governmental archives, reports of hospitals and health stations, demographic and social surveys, and other historical sources, this dissertation first investigates how missionary and governmental initiatives pushed forward the institutionalization of childbirth in different parts of China from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century. Then the dissertation presents case studies of Beijing (1926-1937) and Sichuan (1938-1949), as well as three comparisons regarding neonatal and maternal mortality rates in China and elsewhere in the world, through which it analyzes how biomedical approaches of the “new style midwifery” helped prevent neonatal, infant and maternal mortality by reducing infection-related diseases during and after childbirth. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods, this dissertation provides new insights into how childbirth became less risky across time and space.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date30-Jun-2020
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-2767-6
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-2768-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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