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Labour of love.

Cooper, Budge

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About this work


A midwife and doctor put masks on prior to visiting a new mother in bed with her baby. The successful end result is due to a series of checks on the health and well-being of the mother to be which starts with her first booking-in appointment with the doctor. The GP describes the questions he asked Mrs Gregory in the surgery. The first one is about her general health and when her last period was. It is recommended she takes iron tablets and drinsk plenty of milk. Her blood pressure is taken. She then has a physical examination of her chest, heart, teeth, eyes (for anaemia) and her abdomen. The GP recommends she attends mothercraft lessons. A group of mothers to be has a lecture which describes the physical changes they will experience and what they can expect. Another session shows exercises to prepare for birth, including squatting. Another mother (Mrs Dextra?) who already has two children and is pregnant with her third would like to have the next one at home and she meets with the health visitor in her home to discuss this possibility. She is given the paperwork relevant to being pregnant which allows her to access antenatal care. The then current thinking regarding diet is explained; pregnant women are expected to drink a pint and a half a day of milk, eat meat, eggs, cheese or fish. Fruit and vegetables to be eaten raw are also recommended. The support of the husband is mentioned (somewhat playfully). Breast feeding is recommended; a session on how to breast feed is seen, although the method is described and demonstrated without an actual baby. 'Topping up' with a bottle after a breast feed is shown. The method of sterilisation is recommended using Milton products (made by the sponsor) andthis is demonstrated. Breathing exercises take place in antenatal classes as the heavily pregnant women lie on the floor. The GP carries out another examination. A new baby is bathed for the benefit of the mothers to be. This is carried out on the midwife's lap as she narrates the different stages. Another class describes how to relax. All the paraphrenalia of giving birth is presented to the midwife by a woman seeking a home birth; she asks for her husband to attend and the midwife agrees that that would be a good idea. Another session shows the pregnant woman how a portable gas and air machine functions (this session takes place in the open air). There are further visits to the GP and antenatal exercises. One woman goes into hospital and gets ready for her labour; the father waits anxiously in the corridor as the pregnant woman gets into bed and has her temperature taken. Later, she has a bath. A mother in the second stage of labour is coached by the midwife through the contractions whilst she is using gas and air. The midwife tells her when to pant. The baby is born and put in a carry cot. The GP arrives. The footage returns to the opening sequence of the midwife and doctor on the stairs. The end 1961.



Physical description

1 encoded moving image (27:50 mins.) : sound, black and white



Copyright note

Milton Pharmaceuticals


More material on the NCT is held in the Wellcome Library reference SA/NCT.

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Creator/production credits

Milton Pharmaceuticals and Bristol Public Health Department present 'Labour of Love'. Written and directed by Budge Cooper.


  • English

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