Parturition chair, Germany, 1701-1850

Made:
1701-1850 in Germany
Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Full 3/4 view, graduated grey background. Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Full view, back of chair reclining. Graduated grey background. Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Full profile view, graduated grey background. Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Detail view of chair arm and handle.

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Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Full 3/4 view, graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Full view, back of chair reclining. Graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Full profile view, graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850. Detail view of chair arm and handle.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Folding parturition chair, German, 1701-1850

Parturition or birthing chairs provide support to people in labour and make it easier to give birth in an upright position. This wooden example has an adjustable back and hand grips that can be repositioned for comfort. A cutaway section in the seat – upholstered in wipe-clean leather rather than the pink silk brocade used for the back and arm rests – allows the baby to emerge into the waiting hands of a midwife or attendant.

In the 1700s, birthing chairs were often used by multiple generations of a single family, being passed down as heirlooms. This one had the advantage of being collapsible for storage.

Details

Category:
Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A602151
Materials:
fittings, iron, frame, wood, varnished, leather, studs, brass and upholstery, silk, pink
Measurements:
overall: 1200 mm x 600 mm x 720 mm,
type:
parturition chair