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Delivered by Midwives

Delivery by Midwives:  Unveiling the Untold Story of African American Midwifery

In the rich tapestry of history, some stories have remained hidden, awaiting discovery. “Delivered by Midwives: African American Midwifery in the Twentieth-Century South” by Jenny M. Luke is a groundbreaking book that sheds light on the often-overlooked role of African American midwives and their profound impact on maternity care in the South during the twentieth century. This captivating exploration unveils a narrative that goes beyond racial dichotomies, revealing African American women’s evolving expectations, agency, and demands.

A New Perspective on Childbirth and Maternity Care:

With meticulous research drawing from nursing, medical, and public health journals of the era and primary sources from state and county health departments, Luke presents a fresh perspective on the childbirth experience of African American women. “Delivered by Midwives” offers an intimate look at the type of care midwives provide and how midwifery and maternity care evolved under the influence of local and federal healthcare structures.

Challenging Stereotypes and Advocating for Inclusion:

Luke skillfully challenges stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding African American midwives, showcasing their integral role in reshaping maternity care. The book highlights the demands of African American women as they rejected a two-tier maternity care system and fought for inclusivity in a desegregated society. A profound shift in childbirth culture is revealed through personal accounts from practitioners and the voices of those who experienced their care.

Revisiting a Forgotten Care Model: 

“Delivered by Midwives” also illuminates the valuable aspects of a maternity care model discarded in the name of progress. The book explores the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Protection Act in 1921, a landmark event in the federal government’s attempts to improve the welfare of mothers and babies. Luke’s work prompts a reevaluation of this care model as modern healthcare grapples with maternal mortality and persistent racial disparities.

Lesson from the the past, Insights for the future:

As concern about maternal mortality and racial disparities persists, the book offers essential insights by resurrecting elements of the long-abandoned care model. By incorporating lessons from the past, “Delivered by Midwives” presents a timely reassessment, encouraging a reconsideration of modern practices. It underscores the importance of inclusivity and draws attention to the enduring relevance of historical knowledge in addressing current healthcare dilemmas.

Delivered by Midwives:

 African American Midwifery in the Twentieth-Century South” is a captivating journey that unveils the untold story of African American midwives and their transformative impact on maternity care. Through meticulous research and compelling narratives, Jenny M. Luke illuminates a complex and empowering shift in childbirth culture. This book honors the legacy of African American midwives and offers invaluable lessons for shaping a more inclusive and equitable future in healthcare. Dive into this enlightening read and discover a vital chapter of history that deserves to be celebrated and remembered.

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