Story: Pregnancy, birth and baby care

Home birth, 1916 (1st of 2)

Home birth, 1916

Maud Adkin lies in bed with her new daughter Nancy in 1916. The photo, taken by Maud's husband, photographer Leslie Adkin, is remarkably relaxed for a period when photos were generally more formal. It captures Maud Adkin's weary repose and peaceful contemplation of her daughter. In the 19th and early 20th centuries most women gave birth at home, assisted by midwives and sometimes doctors. The midwives often stayed for a few days before and after the birth to do household chores and care for the baby. Women who used doctors engaged nurses to do this work.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: B.022666
Photograph by George Leslie Adkin

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Pregnancy, birth and baby care - Childbirth, 19th century to 1950s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 September 2021)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 24 Oct 2018