The first public maternity hospitals were opened in 1905. The St Helens hospitals were one outcome of a government enquiry into maternal and infant deaths during childbirth. They provided subsidised maternity care for pregnant women, and midwifery training. Most births in the hospitals were managed by midwives – doctors were only called if complications arose. Women could also use the St Helens midwives at home. This is the first superintendent of the Dunedin St Helens Hospital (and first woman medical graduate in New Zealand), Dr Emily Siedeberg, surrounded by midwifery staff. Dr Siedeberg is distinguishable by her central position and black clothing. All the midwives are holding recently-born babies.
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Otago Daily Times
Reference: 19 June 1907, p. 43
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