Parturition chair

Made:
1601-1700 in England
maker:
Unknown

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

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

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

Parturition chair or commode, with removeable keyhole seat, and carved leaf motif on back and sides, elm and oak, English, 17th century

A parturition chair, or birthing chair, lets the mother sit upright while giving birth. However, it has a low centre of gravity so the mother can also squat and still be supported by the chair. The chair is made of elm and oak with a removable keyhole seat. This allows a clear route for the emerging baby and access for those assisting the birth. The elaborate carved leaf motif on the back and sides suggests this may have belonged to a wealthy family. Birthing chairs were used from ancient times until the 1800s. They were often passed down in families.

Details

Category:
Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Contraception
Object Number:
1982-1566
Materials:
elm and oak
type:
parturition chair
credit:
Mirrielees, Esther