Women's Lives in Sixteenth-Century Spain: Narratives of Pregnancy and Childbirth

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Many women are now turning to midwives or home births as a more natural option for childbirth than hospital deliveries. But what was women's experience of pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood before the age of modern medicine? This presentation will present preliminary findings from archival research in Madrid's National Library, examining household recipe manuals and midwifery manuals from sixteenth-century Spain in an attempt to reconstruct women's experience of maternity, relying as much as possible on their own narratives. This presentation seeks to uncover the daily life of women in the Renaissance while also placing their experience in dialogue with current debates over what it means to have a 'natural' birth and women's autonomy over the birth process.


The slides for this presentation are not available.