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Copy of a Parturition chair, London, England, 1912

Parturition or birthing chairs were used to provide support for a woman during childbirth. Many parturition chairs were family heirlooms which were passed down through the generations. They are still used in some countries today. Some chairs were quite complex designs with adjustable arm and foot rests for the mother’s comfort. Some could also be folded to convert into a bed or operating table. This chair is based on an earlier, simpler design from 1532. This replica was made in 1912 at the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum Workshops.

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Glossary: parturition chair

Chair used during parturition, a seat in which a mother may give birth to her child

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: replica

Use for precise reproductions of valued objects, usually in the same dimensions as the original. For reproductions of an image alone, use "reproductions" or "facsimiles." Use also when more than one similar object is produced by the same artist, craftsman, or studio, with little or no variation between them; if variation is apparent, use "versions." Distinct from "forgeries" and "counterfeits," which are produced with the intent to deceive.