Parturition (birthing) chair

1601-1700 in Europe

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

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

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.


Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
fittings, iron, pin straps, linen, walnut, carved
wings recoiled, no legs: 1440 mm x 745 mm x 600 mm,
wings extended, no legs: 1440 mm x 745 mm x 910 mm,
legs extended, wings recoiled: 1440 mm x 1010 mm x 1060 mm,
back legs extended: 1440 mm x 745 mm x 1540 mm,
parturition chair
Loan, Wellcome Trust

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.