Obstetrical fillet, 1701-1900

Made:
1701-1900 in Unknown place
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Fillet, ribbon, possibly 18th-19th century, silk and wood

Fillets were one of the first devices assisting childbirth that caused minimal danger to mother and child. The wooden stem was called an introducer. It was inserted into the birth canal then withdrawn. The longer silk strip was left looped around the foetus. The physician then put his hands through the two smaller loops and gently pulled to assist delivery. This silk example may have had limited usefulness. Soft fabrics were difficult to insert into the body. They also lacked the strength of materials such as leather or whalebone. Silk was unhygienic. It increased the danger of contracting puerperal fever. This is a fatal form of blood poisoning contracted during the birth from unsanitary instruments.

Details

Category:
Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
A615763
Materials:
covering, silk and wand, wood
type:
obstetrical fillet

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