Midwifery bag and steriliser, London, England, 1940-1948
Bags such as this were taken by midwives when assisting with home births during the 1940s. This example was last used in 1948. It folds open to reveal an inner canvas bag containing medications, dressings, instruments and a measuring glass. Integral to the set is a metal steriliser in which instruments can be sterilised in boiling water. Also present are birth registration forms for Hertfordshire County Council. These required the midwife to register whether infants were born dead or alive and declare if they were illegitimate. Legitimacy questions are not included now. This reflects attitude changes since the 1940s about children born outside of marriage.
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A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.
Glossary: midwifery bag