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Tanier's Axis Traction forceps, Paris, France, 1871-1900

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In 1877, French obstetrician Etienne Tanier (1828-1897) introduced the most important innovation in obstetrical forceps during the 1800s. It consisted of an attachment to the blades. This allowed traction to be applied in the axis of the birth canal. The birth canal is the path taken by the foetus during its passage through the pelvic cavity. This example of Tanier’s innovation was made by instrument maker Collin of Paris.

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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.