Puerperal Fever and the Lying-in Hospitals

Irvine Loudon

in The Tragedy of Childbed Fever

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780198204992
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676444 | DOI:
Puerperal Fever and the Lying-in Hospitals

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This chapter examines puerperal fever epidemics in lying-in hospitals in England during the 18th century. Though lying-in hospitals were intended to bring skill and comfort to the poor in childbirth, they were from the early years plagued by recurrent epidemics of puerperal fever with appalling mortality rates. Some critics have suggested that it was so much safer for poor pregnant women to give birth in the worst of slums with an untrained midwife than in a lying-in hospital.

Keywords: puerperal fever; epidemics; lying-in hospitals; England; mortality rate; pregnant women

Chapter.  8239 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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