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Five stages of foetal development are illustrated by this plaque. It is carved from wax. It is thought to be of European origin and made in the 1700s. Models were important to medical training because few bodies, especially those of pregnant women, were available for dissection. Waxworks such as this were used as teaching aids for medical students. Wax gave a realistic representation of flesh. This allowed particular details to be highlighted. In this case, various stages of development can be compared directly.

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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: plaque

An ornamental tablet of metal, porcelain etc that depicts a person, scene or inscription. Often fixed to a building in commemoration of a person or notable historical occurence.