Obstetric Care

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Obstetric Care


in the USSR, measures taken to protect the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and puerperium. Obstetric care in the USSR and other socialist countries is an important aspect of maternal and infant protection and is carried out together with prenatal care of the fetus. The development of obstetric care is closely related to advances in obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics.

In prerevolutionary Russia no state system existed to protect the health of mothers and newborns. In 1912 there were only 7,500 hospital beds for pregnant women and puerperae, and in what is now the Armenian SSR, Tadzhik SSR, and Moldavian SSR there was not a single obstetric bed. Only 5 percent of all puerperae received medical care, and only nine consultation clinics for women and children were in operation. More than 30,000 women died in childbirth annually. Infant mortality was extremely high, with 269 children out of 1,000 dying in the first year of life (1913).

Prevention is the basis of obstetric care in the USSR. A vast network of special medical facilities has been established. In 1973 there were 224,000 beds for pregnant women and puerperae, and more than 22,000 consultation clinics for women and children were in operation. In 1974 there were 47,100 obstetricians and gynecologists and 91,500 pediatricians. Infant mortality in 1973 was 23 per thousand births. The establishment in 1948 of maternity hospitals with gynecologic consultation clinics led to further improvement in the quality of obstetric and gynecologic care.

Obstetric care in other socialist countries is similar to that in the USSR. No similar system exists in capitalist countries, where childbirth, as a rule, takes place in paid medical establishments, at home, or in the obstetrics department of a hospital.


Rein, G. E. Rodovspomozhenie v Rossii. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Levi, M. F. Istoriia rodovspomozheniia v SSSR. Moscow, 1950.
Petrovskii, B. V. “Dostizheniia v okhrane zdorov’ia zhenshchin i detei za 50 let SSSR.” Vestnik AMN SSSR, 1973, no.6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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