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Marble plaque showing parturition scene, Ostia, Italy.

This marble plaque depicts a ‘parturition’, or birthing scene. Such scenes eased the fears of expectant mothers by depicting positive birthing images. During this time, midwives were female. Men were not present at births unless a doctor was required in the case of a high status mother. Here, a woman reclines on a couch covered in drapes, attended by three women. They are dressed in classical Roma…