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Het spanningsveld van de reproductieve gezondheidszorg : vroedvrouwen, artsen en achterwaarsters in Vlaanderen tijdens de 19de eeuw

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Abstract
In this article, we look into midwife practices in East and West Flanders during the 19th century. It was then that the conditions for the practice of midwivery were established legally and on a national level: only women with an acknowledged training and who had successfully passed an examination were authorized to work as midwives. The medical profession and the authorities looked upon these qualified midwives as exponents of a medicalization that was to bring knowledge on hygiene and maternity care to the people. Yet also so-called achterwaarsters (meaning: non-qualified midwives) remained active as midwives, particularly in rural areas. Achterwaarsters attended births without having the required qualifications. The general image in literature pictures achterwaarsters as serious rivals of the midwives. This image is however mostly based on medical reports, sources that usually presented the profession of midwife in a very negative light. This study uses sources that consider birth practices more directly in order to add nuance to the existing conceptualization. Witness accounts from 54 legal records on infanticide and illegal practicing of midwivery present a direct account by the midwives, achterwaarsters and doctors and offer a more direct and profound understanding of their daily activities. The witness accounts show that a simplistic image of the achterwaarster as the unrestrained rival of the midwife is not correct. This is important for understanding the social role of midwives as intermediaries and to explain why traditional workers could remain active for such a long period in the field of obstetrics.

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Chicago
Matthys, Christa, and Soetkin Gryson. 2018. “Het Spanningsveld Van De Reproductieve Gezondheidszorg : Vroedvrouwen, Artsen En Achterwaarsters in Vlaanderen Tijdens De 19de Eeuw.” Journal of Belgian History-revue Belge D Histoire Contemporaine-belgisch Tijdschrift Voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis 48 (3): 65–87.
APA
Matthys, Christa, & Gryson, S. (2018). Het spanningsveld van de reproductieve gezondheidszorg : vroedvrouwen, artsen en achterwaarsters in Vlaanderen tijdens de 19de eeuw. JOURNAL OF BELGIAN HISTORY-REVUE BELGE D HISTOIRE CONTEMPORAINE-BELGISCH TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR NIEUWSTE GESCHIEDENIS, 48(3), 65–87.
Vancouver
1.
Matthys C, Gryson S. Het spanningsveld van de reproductieve gezondheidszorg : vroedvrouwen, artsen en achterwaarsters in Vlaanderen tijdens de 19de eeuw. JOURNAL OF BELGIAN HISTORY-REVUE BELGE D HISTOIRE CONTEMPORAINE-BELGISCH TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR NIEUWSTE GESCHIEDENIS. 2018;48(3):65–87.
MLA
Matthys, Christa, and Soetkin Gryson. “Het Spanningsveld Van De Reproductieve Gezondheidszorg : Vroedvrouwen, Artsen En Achterwaarsters in Vlaanderen Tijdens De 19de Eeuw.” JOURNAL OF BELGIAN HISTORY-REVUE BELGE D HISTOIRE CONTEMPORAINE-BELGISCH TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR NIEUWSTE GESCHIEDENIS 48.3 (2018): 65–87. Print.
@article{8554492,
  abstract     = {In this article, we look into midwife practices in East and West Flanders during the 19th century. It was then that the conditions for the practice of midwivery were established legally and on a national level: only women with an acknowledged training and who had successfully passed an examination were authorized to work as midwives. The medical profession and the authorities looked upon these qualified midwives as exponents of a medicalization that was to bring knowledge on hygiene and maternity care to the people. Yet also so-called achterwaarsters (meaning: non-qualified midwives) remained active as midwives, particularly in rural areas. Achterwaarsters attended births without having the required qualifications. The general image in literature pictures achterwaarsters as serious rivals of the midwives. This image is however mostly based on medical reports, sources that usually presented the profession of midwife in a very negative light. This study uses sources that consider birth practices more directly in order to add nuance to the existing conceptualization. Witness accounts from 54 legal records on infanticide and illegal practicing of midwivery present a direct account by the midwives, achterwaarsters and doctors and offer a more direct and profound understanding of their daily activities. The witness accounts show that a simplistic image of the achterwaarster as the unrestrained rival of the midwife is not correct. This is important for understanding the social role of midwives as intermediaries and to explain why traditional workers could remain active for such a long period in the field of obstetrics.},
  author       = {Matthys, Christa and Gryson, Soetkin},
  issn         = {0035-0869},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF BELGIAN HISTORY-REVUE BELGE D HISTOIRE CONTEMPORAINE-BELGISCH TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR NIEUWSTE GESCHIEDENIS},
  language     = {dut},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {65--87},
  title        = {Het spanningsveld van de reproductieve gezondheidszorg : vroedvrouwen, artsen en achterwaarsters in Vlaanderen tijdens de 19de eeuw},
  volume       = {48},
  year         = {2018},
}

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