Justine Siegemund: From the village midwife to the royal midwife

Justine Siegemund: From the village midwife to the royal midwife

Justine Siegemund – From village midwife to royal midwife

The midwife Justine Siegemund

Justine Siegemund published the first German textbook for midwives in 1690

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At the age of 21, Justine Siegemund was supposedly pregnant. For weeks she had to deal with ignorant midwives until it became clear that she wasn’t pregnant at all. Her painful experiences led her to devote herself to this profession.

It was her own supposed pregnancy and the associated torments that prompted Justine Siegemund to devote herself to the profession of midwife. The woman from Lower Silesia, born December 26, 1636 in Rohnstock near Jawor, was mistaken for pregnant when she was 21 years old. From then on she saw herself continuously with ignorant ones midwives who urged her to give birth for days until it turned out that she wasn’t pregnant at all.

In order to protect other women from a similar fate, she occupied herself intensively with the profession of midwife, read everything she could get her hands on on the subject, exchanged ideas with other midwives and was a witness to many births. When she was 25 years old, she first helped old farmers in the village, their Children to bring into the world. Although she had no medical knowledge of anatomy, word of her special skills as a midwife quickly got around. Even in aristocratic circles.

In 1670 she became the town midwife in Legnica. Two years later, she saved the life of Luise von Anhalt-Dessau, the then regent in the Duchy of Liegnitz and Brieg, by removing an abscess on her uterus. No doctor wanted to do this before. In 1683 she officially became city midwife in Liegnitz and in 1701 midwife at the court of the Prussian prince Friedrich Wilhelm in Berlin. In this function, she was repeatedly lent to various princesses and princesses, most of whom were closely associated with the Hohenzollern courts, for childbirth and maternity care. This is how she became known beyond the country’s borders and thus also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with many academically trained doctors.

Justine Siegemund wrote the first German textbook for midwives

However, her success also made her the envy of her competitors. In 1680 the Liegnitz city doctor, Dr. Martin Kerger of violent obstetric practices. Among other things, he accused her of speeding up births out of selfishness and of prescribing birth-promoting home remedies, which violated medical regulations.

In 1690 Siegemund finally published the first German textbook for midwives entitled “The Chur-Brandenburgische Hoff-Wohe-Mutter/ That is: A highly necessary lesson/ Of difficult and unjust births”. In it she described, among other things, how to deal with an incorrect position of the fetus or the umbilical cord. The textbook was later reprinted several times, even long after her death. Justine Siegemund died on November 10, 1975 in Berlin. By the time of her death, she safely gave birth to more than 6200 children. In her honor, Google dedicates a Doodle to her this Tuesday.

Jonas wants to be a midwife: "Colleagues have problems with men at work"

Watch the video: Jonas Küppers is 30 years old and is studying midwifery in Bielefeld. The young man has already witnessed 40 births. During his training he has to fight against prejudices, but in the delivery room his work as a man also has advantages.

Sources:deutsche-biographie.de, EFiID, short! story

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