Sheila Kitzinger the creative author and anthropologist who had written more than 25 books pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth dies at the age of 86. Sheila Kitzinger is best known for her epoch making book The New Pregnancy and Childbirth. She also wrote more than two dozen other informative books pertaining to pregnancy and childbirth.
Sheila had developed the concept in the 1960’s and 70’s of a birth plan which envisaged giving more choices to pregnant women. She believed that mothers and not clinicians must be the focus during childbirth. She is considered as a pioneer in this field and also received an Order of the British Empire.
The early 60’s and 70’s saw the advent of a new idea and concept pioneered by natural childbirth guru, anthropologist and author Sheila Kitzinger-the idea of home births. It envisaged giving pregnant women more choices when it comes to giving birth.
Sheila herself had five children all born at home naturally. She believed that midwives and nurses played a crucial role in all her successful home births.
In a statement released by her publisher said that, “‘she died calmly at her home following a short illness”. Sheila lived in Oxfordshire. She was 86.
Professor Celia Kitzinger, Ms. Kitzinger’s oldest daughter said, “Sheila taught me, from an early age that the personal was political – not just by what she said but by what she did. As I was growing up I learnt from her campaigns for freedom and choice in childbirth that passionate and committed individuals can create social change. She never hesitated to speak truth to power. I am reminded, reading her autobiography, of the sheer range and breadth of the issues she has been involved in – from female genital mutilation to prisoners giving birth in handcuffs and human rights in midwifery in Eastern Europe.”
Her ground-breaking and enormous influence in the development of modern midwifery has been widely acknowledged.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College said, “She challenged the orthodoxy of a passive, over-medicalised approach to childbirth, from the 1970s to today, and gave women a sense of their entitlement to choice. A doughty feminist, an influential author, and a committed campaigner, she was a great friend of the midwifery profession, and will be as greatly missed as her legacy will be celebrated.”