De Partu logoDe Partu is an independent history of midwifery and childbirth research group.

De partu is the Latin for “concerning birth”. The words frequently begin the titles of treatises on childbirth, that of Eucharius Rösslin, De partu hominis, et quae circa ipsum accidunt (1532), being a well-known example.

Logo: Image from The Midwives Book (1671), the first English midwifery text written by a midwife, Jane Sharp.
Source: The John Rylands University Library, Manchester.
Border, Rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntica), used since ancient and medieval times as a herbal medicine and charm to hasten childbirth, prevent pain and provide the woman with protection from harm.
Acknowledgements to: Maisie Photography.
© J. Allotey, De Partu, History of Childbirth Group, January 2010.

Founder members: Dr Janette Allotey, Dr Julia Allison, Professor Mavis Kirkham, Professor Billie Hunter, Dr Louise Jenkins, Professor Helen King, Professor Rosemary Mander, Dr Tania Mcintosh, Dr Alison Nuttall, Susan Tully and Tina Wells.

Terms of reference

  • To provide a supportive network for those working on history of midwifery/childbirth projects
  • To act as a confidential forum in which colleagues may present work in progress to their peers to gain constructive feedback
  • To promote an appreciation of midwifery / birth history to the profession
  • To promote a wider appreciation of midwifery / birth history
  • To act as a national resource / offer expertise in the field
  • To provide a forum (either virtual or physical) for the discussion of approaches to, and methods of, historical research
  • To develop appropriate inter-disciplinary links
  • To identify and promote the preservation of relevant archive materials (including documents, photographs and artefacts).


  • Organising an annual meeting of the History of Childbirth Group and history of midwifery seminar
  • Supporting further midwifery / childbirth peripatetic seminars in a range of diverse geographic locations, promoting the work of local academics and invited guest speakers at host universities
  • Developing a series of specialist sub-groups, for example a sub-group working on local midwifery / birth history public outreach projects and so on, depending on the expertise and interests of group members
  • Considering fund-raising efforts to raise the profile of the history of midwifery / birth within and outside the midwifery profession
  • Forming multi-disciplinary national and international links
  • Engaging in archive identification and production of online resources

 De Partu Team 

Chair and web content editor: Dr Janette Allotey, University of Manchester (retired)
Webmaster/designer and Web editors:  Dr Catherine Ebenezer, Dr Janette Allotey, Dr Gwenith Cross and Mr Tim Walton
Treasurer and membership administrator: Margaret Lynch, University of Manchester (retired)
Genealogy enquiries: Dr Julia Allison, former RCM General Secretary
Book reviews editor: Dr Alison Nuttall, University of Edinburgh

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Information on this website is provided for historical purposes only.

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