The Proposed Registration of Midwives

1892 BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)  
in University College, and formerly President of the Obstetrical Society, said there were, he believed, about 10,000 midwives in England. About three-fourths of the labourers' wives in England were attended by midwives In their continemente. It seemed that in villages about 80 per cent. of the women were attended by midwives; in towns from 6,000 population. an average of lo per cent. were attended by women. In large manufacturing towns it was about the same as in the villages. In Coventry the
more » ... . In Coventry the average was 90 per cent , and in Glasgow 35 per cent. In Wakefield, with a population of 23,000, a curious state of things was found: nearly all the lrish were attended by midwives, and nearly all the English by doctors. In Edinburgh almost all the women were attended by men. In East London about 40 per cent, were attended by midwives. In West London there were very few midwives. These data were obtained some time ago by the Obstetrical Society, and were fairly reliable. Midwives were valuable where they took cases by themselves, and sent for the doctor in times of emergency. He could not say to what extent midwives were incompetent, but he had met with such cases. If a woman was ignorant, and not cleanly, her patient would be sure to sufler from it. That was the cause of the present increase of puerperal fever among the poor, and he thought it quite time that legislation dealt with question. He could not say lwhat proportion of the 10,000 midwives were incompetent. It would be difficult to prevent women from practising as midwives till they were registered. If there were 17,000 names on the Medical Register, the midwives list would be much smaller. Registration would, doubtless, have the effect of raising the standard of midwives. The CHAIRMAN: Would youfavour havingtwo registers, one for trained, and the other for untrained, midwives? WITNESS could not answer the question. He thought an improvement in the education of midwives would be a distinct advantage to medical
doi:10.1136/bmj.1.1641.1259 fatcat:5u5rxi44fncg3d5qjuvrzwuobi