The Russian Empire was distinguished from other European countries by the highest birth rate and the highest mortality rate. In the second half of the XIX – early XX century, a Russian woman gave birth on average 11 times in her life, while more than half of the children died from birth to five years. The mortality rate of children in the first year of life was the highest – less than a third of infants survived.
The women in labor were assisted by healers – grandmothers-midwives who do not have special education, but have a huge life experience. There were midwives who took 500 or more births in their lives.
In 1878, a midwifery school was opened in Tobolsk. It was the second educational medical institution for women in Russia after the school for paramedics in St. Petersburg. The base for training was the provincial hospital. In 1895, the paramedic-midwifery school was transformed into a paramedic-midwifery school.
The vast experience in preserving maternal and child health, accumulated before the revolution, was also used in Soviet times. Children's medical care in the Soviet Union copied adult medicine. The number of women's consultations from 1928 to 1940 increased almost 4 times, and amounted to 9,000 departments. Young mothers received the best medicines, and training in obstetrics and pediatrics was considered a priority. Because of these measures, the number of citizens of the USSR has increased significantly. In 1920 it was 138 million people, and in 1940 it was already 196 million.