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Instrumental Delivery: Complex Paternity and a Fading Art

Citation

Jauniaux, Eric & Thorp, John M., Jr. (2017). Instrumental Delivery: Complex Paternity and a Fading Art. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 124(9), 1373.

Abstract

For Sir Thomas NA Jeffcoate (1907–1992), Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Women's Hospital, Liverpool and President of the RCOG (1969–1972), the invention of the forceps was ‘probably the most important event in the history of obstetrics’ (BMJ 1953;4843:951–5). As he also stated: ‘it was the first serious incursions of the medical profession into the realms of midwifery’ and ‘it became hated by the midwives, who did everything possible to discredit it in the eyes of parturient women’. Peter Chamberlen the Elder (1560–1631) ‘accoucheur’ to Queen Henrietta (wife of Charles 1) is believed to be the inventor of the forceps (Hibbard. Med Historian 1997;18:41-60). He went to great lengths to keep his forceps secret, bringing it to birthing-rooms in an ornate box, hidden from view, blindfolding his patients and never allowing anyone else in the room during the delivery. The Chamberlen forceps remained under the attic floorboards in the family home at Woodham Mortimer Hall until its accidental discovery in 1813.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.14549

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2017

Journal Title

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Author(s)

Jauniaux, Eric
Thorp, John M., Jr.