Although perinatal audit is a relatively new term, its history dates back far beyond that of the discipline of perinatology. From 1720 to 1750 England was swept by a gin epidemic as the government lifted the traditional restrictions on distilling in order to create new markets for grain. In 1726 the College of Physicians petitioned parliament calling gin ‘a cause of weak, feeble and distempered children’, and in 1736 a committee of the Middlesex sessions reported that‘… children are born weak and sickly, and often look shrivel’d and old as though they had numbered many years’1. Applying the definition ‘an official examination of accounts’ listed in the Oxford dictionary2, this must be a classical example of audit related to perinatology. Few examinations are more official than those of a parliamentary committee; the available accounts were certainly scrutinized; and supposedly the aim was some positive action for the improvement of perinatal health.
KeywordsPerinatal Mortality Perinatal Health Fetal Growth Retardation Oxford Dictionary Parliamentary Committee
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