Pregnancy was a routine, often regular, experience for women across their childbearing years in the long eighteenth century since the majority of women wed in their mid-twenties and bore children until menopause. Pregnancy was limited only by fertility, health, and sexual abstinence before the “fertility transition”. As such pregnancy from its earliest stages to birth was a topic consistently discussed in family correspondence and diaries among the literate social ranks. Although individual circumstances were often different, one common theme emerges across these relatively mundane commentaries on pregnancy: a pervasive sense of apprehension. This chapter surveys the language used to describe pregnancy and the unborn child in order to shed more light about the bodily and emotional experience of pregnancy in late Georgian England.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Religion
Year of publication: 2017Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-09-12
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