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Malmstrom's obstetrical vacuum extractor, Gothenburg, Sweden, 1979

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This instrument helped deliver babies. It was an alternative to traditional obstetric forceps. This design was developed by Swede Dr Tage Malmstrom in the 1950s. It was manufactured by AB Vacuum Extractor in Sweden. In 1849, Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870) used a suction cup attached to the baby’s head to aid delivery. This is the idea Malmstrom revived 100 years later. There were problems with the original design and a lack of experience with the technique. Reports of severe birthing complications appeared in the US. Interest in the extractor was short-lived there. However, it remained common in Europe. Design improvements saw the technique regain popularity in the US in the early 1980s.

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Glossary: obstetrics

A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.

Glossary: obstetrical vacuum extractor

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