Story: Women’s health

Responsible for health (2nd of 2)

Responsible for health

Mothers were responsible for the health of a family. By the early 20th century, as the germ theory of infection became widely known, household routines included boiling washing, keeping bedroom windows open, and airing and beating carpets and bedding. Good food, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, was an important element in maintaining health. The mother dosing the children with senna, figs, or cod liver oil was part of life in many households.

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Alexander Turnbull Library, K. M. Wildgoose Donation
Reference: EPH-D-MORAN-1920s-01
Artwork by Joseph Bruno Moran

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Women’s health - Pākehā women’s health, 1840s to 1940s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 October 2021)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 May 2011