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Eileithyia

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Eilyth

Eilythia (right), observing the birth of Athena

Eileithyia, or Ilythia, is the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery. She was the daughter of Zeus and Hera, being one of four children born to them. She was the divine helper of women who were in labour. She prolonged the labour of Heracles' mother Alcmene, upon order from her mother with deep concentration, until she was disturbed by a midwife. In revenge, she turned the midwife into a weasel. She was originally adapted from a Minoan goddess of the same role, named Eleuthia. In myth, she was born in a cave (named for her; the cave of Eileithyia), near Amnisos, Crete.

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