On October 8 Minghui Li, from the History department of the University of Groningen, will give a presentation at the Leeuwenborch. The title of the presentation is: Midwifery reform and birth outcomes in Beijing, 1926-1937
In her research article Minghui Li offers a comparative analysis of the transformation of midwifery practices in Beijing city and its rural neighborhood in China between 1926 and 1937.
From the 1920s onwards, impelled by supports of governments, academic groups and foreign foundations, a reform of midwifery practices was triggered across China. Beijing was one of the forerunners in this reform. Through examining the midwifery regulations, the new style midwifery service, the midwife education/training programs, as well as the consequential influences on birth attendants and birth outcomes (neonatal, infant and maternal mortality rates) in Beijing’s first health district and the nearby Qinghe district, this article shows that in the urban district the trained birth attendants performed better than the untrained personnel in preventing neonatal deaths. Also, the growing use of trained midwifery contributed to the reduction of infant and maternal mortality rates in the urban community. However, because of the paucity of sources of rural areas, such positive outcomes cannot be ascertained in the Qinghe district. Yet an obvious urban-rural divergence in midwifery service and maternal care is still observed.