Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Brooke Newman

Second Advisor

Dr. Leigh Ann Craig

Third Advisor

Dr. Joshua Eckhardt


This thesis analyzes medical manuals published in England between 1500 and 1770 to trace developing medical understandings and prescriptive approaches to conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. While there have been plenty of books written regarding social and religious changes in the reproductive process during the early modern era, there is a dearth of scholarly work focusing on the medical changes which took place in obstetrics over this period. Early modern England was a time of great change in the field of obstetrics as physicians incorporated newly-discovered knowledge about the male and female body, new fields and tools, and new or revived methods into published obstetrical manuals. As men became more prominent in the birthing chamber, instructions in the manuals began to address these men as well. Overall these changes were brought about by changes in the medical field along with changes in culture and religion and the emergence of print culture and rising literacy rates.


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Date of Submission