Prunella Briance obituary

Founder of the National Childbirth Trust who was an indefatigable defender of the rights of women to information around birth

The National Childbirth Trust began with two births: one an easy delivery for an unnamed young girl in the East End of London around a century ago, and the other a stillbirth for a woman called Prunella Briance, several decades later. The two mothers never met, but their stories were connected by a doctor whose inspiration led Briance, who has died aged 91, to found the NCT.

He was Grantly Dick-Read, a GP from Suffolk, who became committed to helping women make childbirth an easier and more fulfilling experience. Shortly before the outbreak of the first world war, as a young doctor, he attended a birth in an impoverished area of the East End. The young woman was offered pain relief, but refused. The child was born safely, and afterwards Dick-Read asked the mother why she hadn’t wanted drugs. “It didn’t hurt,” the woman replied. “It wasn’t meant to, was it, doctor?”

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This post was syndicated from Health | The Guardian. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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