Medieval Europe 814-1350: Family and Social Trends Research Article from World Eras

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Childbirth as Punishment. Childbirth was one of the most significant and dangerous experiences that faced a medieval woman. Medieval ideas about childbirth may be traced back to ancient Hebrew and Christian beliefs. The theologians taught that a woman's pain in childbirth was part of the punishment God inflicted on Eve for her role in the Fall from Paradise. Genesis records that God said to Eve, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children" (Genesis 3.16). The Virgin Mary, however, was considered to have liberated women somewhat from the anguish of childbirth, hence women called on her for assistance during labor.

Heavenly Intercession. Childbirth was particularly dangerous in the Middle Ages. The Virgin Mary and St. Margaret were the patrons of women in childbirth. Female children were often named Mary or Margaret after...

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This section contains 2,719 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Medieval Europe 814-1350: Family and Social Trends Encyclopedia Article
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Medieval Europe 814-1350: Family and Social Trends from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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