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Assalini-type obstetrical forceps, London, England, 1851-1900

This type of forceps was invented by Italian surgeon Paolo Assalini (1759-1840) in 1811. They are made from nickel-plated steel. Obstetrical forceps gripped a baby’s head during difficult childbirths. Assalini’s design was immediately popular and was manufactured until the 1930s.

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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.