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The first advances in understanding birth as a “mechanical mechanism” resulted from opportunities to observe and attend births in hospital-schools established in Paris to train midwives in the early 16th century. In the maternity wards for poor women, the surgeons and midwives developed a new rational view of birth processes and a number of practical ways to “aide” them i.e. a forceps delivery. Before this period, birth was in control of women and largely understood as a social and emotional process. But in an attempt to preserve women’s modesty from the recent introduction of surgeons and male-midwives, the emotional, feminine, and sexual aspects of birth were disregarded. So the very real mind-body connection was then lost to the medical world and has yet to gain a major place in common birth knowledge until very recently. The rationalizing of the the birth processes let them to call their “new midwifery” a science.


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