In early modern European society, having children was a crucial component of normative behaviour, one which was both socially significant and personally meaningful. While both men and women were encouraged to see marriage and children as a part of their lives, for women motherhood was closely tied to their identity. The importance of childbearing to early modern society meant that the process of conception attracted a lot of interest. Moderation was the guiding principle in pre-modern health, and it was crucial for ensuring conception. Midwifery manuals routinely enforced the idea that for pregnancy to occur, the sexual act had to be consensual. Menstrual blood was understood as part of the economy of humours in the body and its flow stopped during pregnancy because it was required for a different purpose. Statistics from the early modern period are limited, but insofar as they exist, they indicate that death from childbirth and its complications occurred in approximately 1–2% of births.