Parturition (birthing) chair
Parturition chair, folding and adjustable, European, 17th century
Parturition or birthing chairs supported the mother while in labour. The arm and foot rests on this wooden chair can be moved for the mother’s comfort. The seat is shaped to allow access during childbirth and provide a clear route for the baby to emerge. The chair can also be folded down to convert into a bed or an operating table. This ornately carved example may be French, but the use of hand rests was a German innovation. Many parturition chairs were family heirlooms and passed through generations. Birthing chairs are still used in some countries.