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Dynamis. 1999;19:191-214.

"You worked on your own, making your own decisions and coping on your own": midwifery knowledge, practice and independence in the workplace in Britain, 1936 to the early 1950s.

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  • 1Westhill College of Higher Education, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Midwifery knowledge is a complex entity-comprising of training and experiential elements-not fixed but mutable, both informed and altered by practice. This study uses oral history accounts to explore how midwives viewed themselves and how they interacted with widwifery knowledge in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of their power and independence in the workplace and, as a result, of their professional status. Midwifery knowledge cannot simply be defined as the technical skills taught in training; it was also shaped by the environment in which practice took place and midwife's relationships with women and with doctors.

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