A selection of websites and online resources around the history of midwifery and childbirth (not exclusively Australian)

Heritage & archive collections

De Partu

History of Midwifery and Childbirth Research Group, U.K.

De Partu

Fantastic website of De Partu – an independent history of midwifery and childbirth research group in the UK, and an inspiration for our website. Founder members included Professor Mavis Kirkham and Professor Billie Hunter.

De partu is the Latin for “concerning birth”. The words frequently begin the titles of treatises on childbirth, that of Eucharius Rösslin, De partu hominis, et quae circa ipsum accidunt (1532), being a well-known example.

Royal College of Midwives


Royal College of Midwives Heritage Blog

A blog that showcases the unique and wonderful heritage and library collections of the Royal College of Midwives.

Comprising museum objects, archives, rare books and journals, these collections cover the history of midwifery from its professionalisation in the late 19th century to today, and the historic records of the Royal College of Midwives charting its work as an advocate for maternal health care and for midwives all over the world.


Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists U.K.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Heritage Blog

The Heritage Blog of RCOG.

RCOG’s work involves a range of initiatives to strengthen the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology and improve the healthcare received by women globally.

Wellcome Collection

Exploring health and human experience

Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library that aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health and human experience.

Go to ‘collections’ and search ‘midwifery’ to explore over 1200 midwifery related items


Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons, Glasgow

Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons, Glasgow

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow’s collections include archives, books and museum objects relating to medicine, surgery and dentistry, from the 15th century to the present day. The collections relate to many parts of the world, but have a strong focus on Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

Search the collections for midwifery or obstetrics to see a range of medical instruments.

Safe Delivery

A history of Scottish Midwives; National Records of Scotland

Safe Delivery: A history of Scottish Midwives

Midwives have performed a vital role for centuries. To help the Royal College of Midwives celebrate the centenary of the Midwives Act (Scotland), 1915, National Records of Scotland presented ‘Safe Delivery: A History of Scottish Midwives’, an archive exhibition telling stories of midwifery before and after professional registration.

Victorian Collections

Victoria, Aust

Victorian Collections

Victorian Collections is a digital archive where you can search thousands of items held by galleries, museums, libraries, archives, historical societies and cultural collections across the state of Victoria, Australia.


Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists

The RANZCOG Museum Medical Collection has medical equipment relating to the history of Obstetrics and Gynaecological practice and neonatal and postnatal care in Australia. The collection includes a fine collection of obstetric forceps, an extensive collection of contraceptive devices, fertility investigation equipment and some early Invitro- fertilization equipment, neonatal investigative equipment such foetal stethoscopes and ultrasound equipment, laparoscopy equipment, historic teaching models and a collection of microscopes.

Nurse Key

A history of the midwifery profession in the UK

history of the midwifery profession in the UK by jean dennison

Click here

Unmasked: Celebrating nursing and midwifery, Victoria and beyond

Her Place Museum, Melbourne

Unmasked: Celebrating nursing and midwifery, Victoria and beyond


“This exhibition marks the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife in 2020 and pays tribute to the nurses and midwives of Victoria and beyond.

It draws on 230 years of midwifery and nursing’s vast history and contemporary stories to acknowledge the immeasurable and collective contribution of nurses and midwives to Australian health care.

Six intersecting themes underpin the exhibition, and twelve practitioners are featured as past and present exemplars of their profession.

Through a combination of thematic interpretation and personal histories, Unmasked delivers fresh perspectives of nurses and midwives in clinical practice settings, in civilian and military roles, in policy, business, activism and advocacy. Across the board, it honours nurses and midwives, and their immense commitment to humanity.

Unmasked is presented by Her Place Women’s Museum Australia in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Safer Care Victoria and is supported by the Victorian Branch, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.  This exhibition was made possible with funding from the Victorian Government.”

Related topics

Call the midwife! A century of Salvation Army District Midwifery

East End Women's Museum, London

Call the midwife! A century of Salvation Army District Midwifery

Read all about the 20th-century history of the Salvation Army midwives and their work in the East End of London. With many evocative archive images, courtesy of the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre.

500 years of Childbirth

Being Human Festival 11-20 Nov 2021

500 years of Childbirth, Being Human Festival 11-20 Nov 2021, UK,

This event is part of Being Human festival, which is  a festival of the humanities taking place across the UK between 11 and 20 November 2021. The festival can be found @BeingHumanFest on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook #BeingHuman2021.

Watch online as PhD student Julia Martins (Kings College London, historian specialising in the history of 16th & 17th century history of medicine & women) and doula Carly Lokrheim discuss links between childbirth in history and today. Find them on Twitter @Julia_Gmartins and @SolLunaDoula

Museum of contraception & abortion


Museum of contraception & abortion

The Museum of Contraception & Abortion looks at the history of contraception, from ancient Egypt to methods that will be used in the future; the fascinating development of pregnancy tests, from indirect indicators such as a rooster’s crow to modern test strips; and also contemporary abortion in light of its development. You can read case histories, listen to literary quotes, track parliamentary votes, open kitchen drawers, and learn about both tinkerers and pioneers.

Museum of Contraception

The Percy Skuy Collection & Gallery, Dittrick Medical History Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Museum of Contraception: The Percy Skuy Collection and Gallery

This unique collection includes a wide range of contraception items, prototypes, and manufacturing devices. The exhibit reveals a longstanding ignorance of essential facts of human conception. The exhibit explores less well known (and dangerous) methods… as well as conventional means, some ancient methods of birth control, some unique and folkloric methods, and presents information about the influence of religion on contraception.

Take a peek online here, or read about some collection hilights as featured in the The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) newsletter