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Shakespeare & Beyond

A closer look at pregnancy, midwifery, and breastfeeding in the Tudor period

The expert midwife
The expert midwife
Depiction of pregnancy and childbirth in The expert midwife

Jakob Rüff. The expert midwife, 1637. Folger STC 21442

What was everyday life like for women throughout Tudor society? Elizabeth Norton, a historian of the queens of England and the Tudor period, shares stories on the Folger’s Shakespeare Unlimited podcast about the restrictions, but also some of the surprising freedoms, that touched these women’s lives.

The excerpt below from our Shakespeare Unlimited interview with Norton contains fascinating insights about pregnancy, midwifery, and breastfeeding in Tudor life. Norton is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.