Justine Siegemund was a midwife from Germany in the 17th century. She wrote a book called “The Court Midwife,” which was the first medical book in Germany from a woman’s perspective. Google celebrated her with a special doodle to honor her work. Her book challenged how society thought about things and made her the first woman to publish an important medical book in Germany. Let’s know more about this wonder-woman.
Who Is Justine Siegemund?
She also known as Siegemundin, was a lady from Silesia who helped women have babies. She wrote a special book about having babies, called “The Court Midwife,” in 1690. It was the first book about medicine written by a woman in Germany. When Justine was 20, some midwives treated her badly. They thought she was pregnant when she wasn’t. This made her want to help other women during childbirth. She started by helping women who didn’t have much, and later she became famous for being good at her job. Justine Siegemund’s work in helping women have babies has made her an important person in the history of medicine.
|Justine Siegemund WiKi/Bio|
|Born||26 December 1636|
|Born Place||Roztoka, Poland|
|Died||10 November 1705, Berlin, Germany|
|Books||The court midwife|
|Known for||The Court Midwife (1690)|
Justine Diettrich was born on December 26, 1636, in Rohnstock (now Roztoka, Poland). Her dad, Elias Diettrich, was a Lutheran minister. In 1650, he died when Justine was 14. At the age of 19, in 1655, she married Christian Siegemund, who worked as an accountant. Despite being married for 42 years, they didn’t have any children. They both supported each other in their jobs.
How She Became a Midwife?
When she was 17, Justine married a man named Christian Siegemund, but they didn’t have any children. When she was 20, some doctors wrongly said she had a problem with her uterus. This bad experience and how midwives treated her made her want to become a midwife herself. She really wanted to help. So, for three years, she learned a lot about helping women during childbirth. Then, she started helping poor women in her town for free. Her husband supported her in doing this.
Justine Siegemund Career
From 1656 to 1672, when Justine was 20, she went through a tough time with a medical issue called a prolapsed uterus, which was wrongly diagnosed. This made her interested in learning about helping women during childbirth. In 1659, she started assisting in a difficult birth case. Until 1670, she helped poor women for free, and later on, she started helping wealthy families too. In 1670, she became the main midwife in Legnica. Even though her old boss accused her of things in 1670, her colleagues supported her. Because he didn’t have much experience with women’s health. This didn’t stop her, and in 1683, she became the midwife for Frederick William, a powerful leader. She also helped deliver babies for Marie-Amalie, a duchess.
In 1696, she helped another important woman, Saxon Electress Eberhardine, give birth to her son. Even though people accused her again in Leipzig, her experience helped her keep a good reputation. She didn’t use many medicines or tools in her work. When she passed away on November 10, 1705, in Berlin, she had helped deliver almost 6,200 babies.
From Local to Royal
People noticed that She was good at helping women give birth. The Duchess of Legnica, who was an important person, asked her to be the midwife for her and her court because Siegemund once removed a growth in the cervix very well. In those days, it was not common for women without children to be midwives, but She didn’t care about that rule.
Her work got so good that even the Queen of England, Mary II, heard about her. In 1690, she wrote a book called “The Court Midwife,” which was one of the first books about helping women have babies in Germany. The book talks about women’s bodies, pregnancy, giving birth, and taking care of mothers after they have a baby. It gave practical advice to midwives like her.
Challenges And Allegations
In 1680, a former supervisor accused her of unsafe practices. However, with support from colleagues and clients, Siegemund successfully defended herself, leading to her appointment as the City Midwife of Legnica. Despite her groundbreaking contributions, she faced opposition from male physicians who questioned her legitimacy. Accusations of quackery and witchcraft challenged her credibility.
“The Court Midwife”
While in the Netherlands, Mary II of Orange suggested that Siegemund create a training manual for midwives. However, likely, she had already started working on The Court Midwife. Using careful notes from her deliveries, she published this important book about childbirth in 1690. On March 28, 1690, the Alma Mater Viadrina certified her book.
Her journey from a determined learner to a respected medical expert is a testament to her resilience and dedication. In the annals of medical history, her name shines as a beacon of resilience and innovation. Despite facing societal barriers, she emerged as a trailblazer in the field of obstetrics, leaving an indelible mark on the practice of childbirth. Her pioneering work in women’s healthcare has left an indelible mark on the history of medicine, inspiring generations to break barriers and advance the field.