Often, the person or celebration in the Google Doodle is familiar to us. However, the one today (March 28) is a little less common. We explain who Justine Siegemund was and why she was famous as she’s today’s Google Doodle.
Lots of people are celebrated using Google Doodle, giving recognition to important people across time. Today is no different as the search engine sheds some light on who Justine Siegemund was, and why history should remember her.
Who Was Justine Siegemund?
Justine Siegemund was a midwife from Silesia, a province in Poland.
Born on Boxing Day in 1636, she became motivated to study obstetrics after being poorly treated by midwives who wrongly assumed she was pregnant.
Initially, Justine provided free midwifery care for women in poverty in her area. This was extremely uncommon as although she was married she remained childless for the entirety of her life. At the time, this typically meant you could not practice midwifery
Come 1670 she began treating women of nobility, including the Duchess of Legnica. Because of this and her growing reputation within the profession, she was appointed the ‘city midwife’ of Legnica.
Justine then became the court midwife for the elector of Brandenberg, as well as the royal midwife for Frederik III’s sister.
Though others suggested that she write a training manual, Justine had already started collating her work.
Justine Siegemund Was Famous For The Court Midwife
Though she was contemporaneously noted for her work in the field, it was her book, The Court Midwife that truly created Justine’s legacy.
The text was revolutionary for multiple reasons. Firstly, the profession was a male-dominated field when it came to publication. This meant that the Court Midwife became the most-read female-published midwifery manual in Germany.
As well as that, the text gained authority through its use of illustrations and was intellectually protected after Justine gained printing privileges.
Even more, the manual was evidence-based in how it presented problematic birthing situations. Justine also offered a solution to the complication of shoulder presentation. At the time, this often left to the death of the baby and the mother.
Justine Siegemund is also credited with the intervention for a haemorrhaging placenta, as well as a two-handed manoeuvre for rotating a baby in utero.
Though she died in 1705, the Court Midwife had many republications over the 18th century. During her time as a midwife, Justine delivered over 6,000 babies.
Today’s Google Doodle sheds light on her important work, not only for midwifery but for revolutionary women in history.