Conference, 7th May, Oxford: “Pregnancy and birth: Changing practices over the twentieth century”

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We are pleased to announce that The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities and De Partu are holding a study day in Oxford on 7th May as part of a Knowledge Exchange Partnership with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Hardly a week goes by without a story or advice about pregnancy or birth making headline news. The Partnership sets this public fascination in a broad historical context, featuring debates and controversies from early printed midwifery texts to the present day. It aims to widen awareness of the heritage collections of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and of the Royal College of Midwives; and to facilitate dialogue between academic researchers and healthcare practitioners. Our study day on 7th May 2016, held in Oxford, focuses on the twentieth-century birth experience, encompassing antenatal preparation for family life, Leboyer’s theories of gentle birth, and developments in postnatal care in the twentieth century. We shall also have presentations on the RCM’s oral history collection and from the midwifery adviser to ‘Call the Midwife’.

The Event:

  • 10.15 Registration and coffee
  • 10.30 Welcome (Valerie Worth-Stylianou and Janette Allotey), and presentation on ‘Revisiting The Midwife’s Tale: an oral history collection at the Royal College of Midwives’ by Carly Randall, (Archivist, RCOG)
  • 11.00 Guest speaker: Dr Marie-France Morel (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris): ‘Gentle birth: Leboyer’s theories and subsequent changes to how babies were birthed in France in the 1970s’
  • 12.00 Seminar A: Professor Mary Nolan (University of Worcester) ‘Birth and Parent Education post Dr Spock, 1970-2016: striving to build parents’ confidence rather than destroy it’
  • 12.00 Seminar B: Professor Debra Bick (King’s College London): ‘’Context, culture and contribution of postnatal care over the last century: a missed opportunity for women’s health’
  • 1.00 Lunch
  • 1.40 Seminars A and B repeated ( to allow all delegates to attend each seminar)
  • 2.40 Tea and coffee
  • 3.00 An update on De Partu (Janette Allotey)
  • 3.15 Terri Coates (midwifery adviser for ‘Call the Midwife’): ‘Call the midwife: communicating the art of midwifery though a BBC period drama’
  • 4.15 Concluding remarks and end of study day

Lead contacts for the Partnership:

Valerie Worth-Stylianou, Senior Tutor Trinity College, University of Oxford, and Mellon-TORCH Knowledge Exchange Fellow

Janette Allotey, Chair of De Partu, Honorary Lecturer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester

To Book

The seminar is limited to 60 places and entry costs £20 (to cover all refreshments, including lunch). There is a reduced price of £10 for graduate students / student midwives or doctors.

Click here to visit the TORCH website and to download a booking form

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