I’ve recently been reading Get Me Out by Randi Epstein. While I’ve been reading this book I have learned how (mostly men) and women have contributed to progress in obstetrics .
In the earlier centuries men were the only ones who could be physicians and obstetrician’s. In result to this men wrote all the pregnancy guides and techniques even though they initially knew nothing about childbirth due to the fact the midwives would usually deliver the babies. Those books and techniques consisted of Soranus Gynaecology, Hippocrates homemade pregnancy test, and Dr. Eucharis Rosslin’s book The Rose Garden .Most of these techniques and books were filled with information we now know to be untrue but there were a few men who were on to something. One group of men in particular that changed obstetrics was The Chamberlen family.
(Older Peter Chamberlen)
The Chamberlen family created and hid a device to help pull babies out of the birth canal during a difficult delivery, this device was called the Chamberlen Forceps. The forceps were passed down for generations and kept in secret due to the family only wanting to operate for the wealthy. And from what I’ve read online and learned in the book, no one really knows exactly which Chamberlen created the Forceps but many people think that it was the oldest son, Peter Chamberlen. Even though they tried extremely hard to hide their medical secret from the rest of the world eventually the forceps were found in 1813 and soon were released fr everyone to see.
“What they found was that these highly secretive baby clamps looked like two soup ladles attached with a spring”-page 28
When everyone was able to see the instruments a controversy broke out between midwives and obstetricians. This controversy caused people to question whether or not the devices were safe or whether the old traditional ways were best. Over the years the debate began to die down and so did the interest in forceps.Now in the present forceps still exist but they aren’t used that much when a woman has a difficult birth. Even though forceps aren’t used that much now and days the original chamberlen forceps did affected the world of obstetrics by providing an alternative option in childbirth back in the 16th century and today. It also was a kick starter for more improved inventions to come in the future.
“The Chamberlens introduced their highly touted secret tool more than 400 years ago.It brought fame and fortune. They certainly exemplified the world of fiery competitive medicine”- Catherine M. Scholten quote in Get me out on page 34