February 1st: it’s the day of the midwife!..

I have been advised that today, February 1st,  is St Bride’s day – the Celtic patron saint for midwives.  The pagan goddess  Brigit was  associated with fertility, childbirth, and cattle. On her feast day – which is also the Gaelic spring festival of Imbolc – Highland girls made the ‘last sheaf’ of the previous harvest into images of her, which were laid in a decorated cradle called ‘Bride’s bed’. Her flower is the snowdrop…

In Ireland it is  St Brigid’s day,   where ‘the  Bride of Kildare’ is said to have helped the Virgin give birth to Jesus and in so doing became known as  the protector of pregnant women and midwives. She also cared for Mary’s cows, hence her other title, ‘Christ’s milkmaid’.

For general (non academic purposes ) interest…

Wikipedia article: Brigit of Kildare

Have a good day,

Janette Allotey

Home birth debate at University of Cambridge

This may be of interest to some of the list subscribers…
Best wishes,
Janette Allotey:

Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2012 10:27:32 +0100
From: Salim Al-Gailani
Subject: Debating Reproduction at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas

Cambridge Festival of Ideas
Debating Reproduction: Hospital Birth

1st November 2012
5.30pm – 7pm
Mill Lane Lecture Room 9, 8 Mill Lane
University of Cambridge

Around 1900, very few babies in Britain were born in hospitals; by the end
of the century, hardly any were not. The Wellcome Trust funded ‘Generation
to Reproduction Project’ presents a debate on the history of medical and
social issues surrounding this ‘revolution’ in childbirth.

The subject of the debate will be:

‘The hospitalization of childbirth has historically benefited birthing
women less than their doctors.’

In order to focus on historical perspectives, the debate will be framed
around the causes of the transition to the hospital and what it has meant
for birthing women, midwives and doctors. We ask why the place of birth
became so controversial in the decades after World War Two and continues to
polarize opinion.

Our panel includes: Cathy Warwick (General Secretary, Royal College of
Midwives), Hilary Marland (Professor of History, University of Warwick),
Tania McIntosh (Lecturer in midwifery and history of midwifery, University
of Nottingham), Joanna Kavenna (Novelist, author of The Birth of Love,

Bookings are filling rapidly. There is no charge, but pre-booking is

To book, email: sb491@cam.ac.uk

Dr Janette Allotey
University of Manchester
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work,
University Place
Oxford Rd
M13 9PL
tel +44(0)161 306 7732
Reception +44(0)161 306 7732

Janette C Allotey
Read more: Janette C Allotey

Campus map: www.manchester.ac.uk/visitors/travel/maps/numerical

Chair of De Partu: History of Childbirth Research Group

Documentary ‘A Picture of Health’: BBC One 27th February 2012 9.15 a.m.

The next programme in the BBC One documentary series A Picture of Health, presented by Larry Lambis due to be broadcast on  Monday 27th February at 9.15 a.m. It discusses how the role of a father-to-be has changed. De Partu provided the film company with assistance and nominated several possible interviewees, including a member of our steering group, Julia Allison, who made such an impression on the producers that she was invited to be involved in a subsequent programme with Larry Lamb and Angela Rippon!!

Julia on location at Knaresborough
Julia on location at Knaresborough