ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Maternal Health in Early Twentieth Century Bombay

Colonial health reports from the mid-19th century onwards recorded alarmingly high rates of maternal and infant mortality in the then Bombay Presidency. This was attributed to the practice of early marriage, the inferior status of women in society and tradition-bound health habits. This article examines the opinions of men and women doctors, civic leaders and philanthropists who were involved in campaigning for better healthcare for expectant mothers and in dealing with the reluctance of Indian women to consult male doctors. They also investigated the health of women mill workers, which led to debates in the Bombay legislative council and ultimately in the passing of the Maternity Benefits Act in 1929.

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