I did say I would reply last night to the above questions, but my brain was exhausted with the trail and trials of Vegemite against Marmite !!
In the 1700 -1800 period women would give birth at home with the woman in the nearest place called midwife, not trained but most probably with many children, and very often drunk. The rich folk could if they could find one , paid for a doctor to help.
In London, the 1st Lying In Hospital was founded in1767 to help women give birth. It was later called St Thomas's Hospital. Barts and the Middlesex started about the same time and many others around the country. There was a charity called the Lying In Charity which helped women give birth at home.
Wet nurses were quite often called to help with the feeding of the baby in middle class and sometimes the richer families, but the quality of the milk provided was inferior due to bad diet.
Puerperal fever was a great cause of infant mortality due in main to the lack of hygeine at home and in some hospitals
Australia started a Lying in hospital in Melbourne in the 1890's
The Midwife Act came in to being in1902
The Midwife Register started in 1905
The National Health Service came into being in1947 when anyone could get free treatment. My father in law started work in the West Country having been in the War , and trained at the Middlesex Hospital. He found many strange notions were still appearing in the country areas. Inter cousins marrying, and incest were rife. Back street abortions were still rife, as they were in London where I worked. I remember some horrific injuries to women even in the early 60's, and we had to operate and hope that they would make it through.
The Abortion Act came into being , and changed all that horror. I know that some of you will disagree but unless you were in theatre and clearing up the mess you don't know the half of it. I had Roman Catholic nurses working for me, and we came to a certain agreement that we all abided by.
The idea of home births came back into fashion, rather than having your baby in the hospital, purely for the relaxation of being at home. I am not going to get into any arguments for or against. I know that I wouldn't have 3 fantastic children if it hadn't been for the swift intervention of the midwives and doctors.
This is not a lecture, but to give you some idea of what happened. There will always be for and against, and as I said and will repeat I will not comment on that. I have my own opinions but will not share those, it is for the individual person to choose.