The early-modern midwifery manual is a fascinating phenomenon. It was from the first a cross-cultural affair, with key examples, such as Eucharius Rösslin’s Der Swangern frawen und he bammen roszgarten (‘the rose garden for pregnant women and midwives’, 1513), and François Mauriceau’s Des Maladies des femmes grosses (1668; translated as The Diseases of Women with Child), circulating widely not only in Latin, but in various European languages.1 Though these books based many of their recommendations on ancient Greek medical models, they also rapidly incorporated findings from the new anatomy. Issued in a cheap octavo format, and in vernacular translations, they were an accessible source of information and advice on a wide range of matters concerning sexual life, including, for instance, methods to promote fertility, and also guidance on the pre-and post-natal care of the mother and child, as well as guidance on pregnancy and childbirth. The scale of interest in such books, and the breadth of their potential market, is indicated by the fact that Rösslin’s Roszgarten, which first appeared in German, was, within 30 years, translated into Latin, Dutch, French, Spanish, Danish, Czech and, finally, English. Its English version, The Byrth of Mankynd, is extant in at least 11 editions dating from between 1540 and 1654, and many more variants have probably been lost.2 Through midwifery manuals, understandings from both old and new science could reach a wide audience, and their prefaces and dedicatory epistles frequently urged readers not to make improper or indecent use of the materials they contained.