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Abstract


ANATOLIAN FOLK MIDWIFERY
Childbirth, which is one of the most beautiful phases of human life, and midwives, who offer care during this process, became an important part of Anatolian folk culture. There were three classes of widwives in the Ottoman State: Saray Ebeleri, Kibar Ebeleri and Halk Ebeleri. “Saray Ebeleri” were responsible for the childbirths of royal women or palace employees. Midwives, who provided care for rich people, were called “Kibar Ebeleri”. The name “Halk Ebesi” was given to the old and experienced women who helped baby deliveries in villages and towns. Widwives, who also provide help for infertility treatment, abortion, medicine preparation, made a lot of people and families happy. Widwives first gathered information by asking women some questions and then tried to determine women’s illness by their own physical examination methods. They tried to cure women in need sometimes with religious methods and sometimes with herbal medicines they prepared. They sometimes helped to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Childbirth is of vital importance for the health of the mother and the baby. There were many cases where ignorant and inexperienced midwives caused major tragedies. Therefore selecting the widwife is crucially important process. Knowledge, skills, hygiene, reputation of the midwife must be considered carefully. Widwives, who had all these specifics, became well-known in their communities and earned serious income. Measures the midwives took to ease childbirth, rituals after the birth, gifts and tips given to midwives, status of midwives within the society and their physical characteristics left important traces in cultural structures of communities. The purpose of our study is to give information on historical and folkloric process of history of midwifery, by examining midwives, who have had important place in the Anatolian folk culture, pre- and postpartum practices, remnants of midwives and childbirth in communal memory.

Keywords
Midwives, birth, postpartum period, Fatmaana Eli, infertility treatment



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