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Levret type obstetrical forceps, Paris, France, 1801-1850

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The two tong-like blades of this instrument were inserted into the mother’s birth canal and around the baby’s head. This was just like using other obstetrical forceps. The obstetrician then applied traction to ease the baby out. However, these forceps had a pronounced pelvic curve. This minimised damage or trauma to the mother. They were developed by Andre Levret (1703-1780) in 1747. This was the year he described his innovation of the pelvic curve to the Royal Academy in Paris. The forceps remained popular throughout the 1800s.

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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.