The substitution of doctors for midwives and of hospital delivery for home delivery did little in themselves to reduce mortality rates for mothers. It was not until around 1935, when antibiotics and transfusions were introduced, that a sharp reduction in the maternal mortality rate occurred. In 1900, maternal mortality was not much lower than it had been in the mid-nineteenth century. By World War II, however, death in childbirth had been cut to its present low level.


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