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Obstetrical forceps, France, 1751-1800

Obstetrical forceps grasped the head of a foetus to assist its delivery during childbirth. These were designed by prominent obstetrician Andre Levret (1703-1780). Levret devised and adapted several instruments used in the birthing process. He was a member of the Royal Society of Surgeons of Paris. He described his design innovation of the ‘pelvic curve’ in 1747. Levret’s many high society patients included the Dauphiness. She was the mother of Louis XVI of France.

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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 forceps

An instrument used to assist the delivery of a foetus, usually during a birth where complications have developed. Numerous variations have been developed over time. The fundamental design has two separate looped blades with handles. These interlock to form a grasping instrument.