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Bossi type uterine dilator, Europe, 1890-1910

The cervix is the neck of the uterus. Dilation of the cervix enables instruments to be introduced into the uterus for therapy or diagnosis. Dilating means to stretch or open up. It was itself believed therapeutic in some conditions. Cervical dilators were also used during childbirth. Towards the end of the 1800s, some obstetricians began using more forceful methods of inducing the process. This four-pronged expanding dilator for the cervix is one example of this approach.

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Glossary: uterine dilator

Gynaecological instrument consisting of prongs and handles used to dilate the cervix. This could be done to assist child delivery or to carry out abortions.

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: gynaecology

A branch of medicine dealing with the treatment of disorders affecting the female reproductive system.

Glossary: dilation

Enlargement or expansion of a body part