What Was Birth Like in Ancient Greece?

Childbirth is a natural process that has been happening for centuries. In ancient Greece, giving birth was considered a significant event and was surrounded by various rituals and customs. Let’s take a closer look at what the birth process was like in ancient Greece.

Childbirth in Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, childbirth was seen as an important event, not just for the mother but also for the community. Women were expected to give birth to healthy babies, especially boys who would carry on the family name.

Preparation for Birth

Before giving birth, women would seek the help of midwives or female relatives who had experience in childbirth. They would prepare a birthing bed by placing straw on the floor and covering it with linen sheets.

The Birthing Process

During childbirth, women were encouraged to make noise and scream as it was believed that this helped ease the pain of labor. Midwives assisted with the delivery by using various techniques such as massage and applying pressure to the abdomen.

If complications arose during childbirth, doctors were called upon to assist with forceps or other medical tools. However, medical intervention during childbirth was uncommon in ancient Greece.

Postpartum Care

After giving birth, women were kept in isolation for several days or weeks to recover from labor. During this time, they would be looked after by female relatives and midwives who provided them with food and care for their newborn baby.

Birthing Rituals in Ancient Greece

In addition to having midwives present during childbirth, there were many superstitions and rituals associated with giving birth in ancient Greece.

  • Women would wear amulets or charms around their necks during labor to protect themselves from evil spirits.
  • It was believed that eating certain foods such as honey or drinking wine during labor would ease the pain of childbirth.
  • After giving birth, women would offer gifts to the gods to thank them for a safe delivery.


In ancient Greece, childbirth was an important event that was surrounded by various rituals and customs. Midwives played a crucial role in assisting with the delivery, and postpartum care was provided by female relatives and midwives.

Despite the lack of medical intervention during childbirth, women in ancient Greece successfully gave birth to healthy babies thanks to the support and care provided by their community.