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Bizarre Birthing Device from the Past

This bizarre birthing device was actually patented on Nov 9, 1965. Was it ever actually put into use? It certainly wouldn't have been the first time a strange and disturbing device or practice was used in the delivery room to "help" women have their babies.Yikes.

 

Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force

 

 

                   

 

 

Patent Description:
The present invention relates to apparatus which utilizes centrifugal force to facilitate the birth of a child at less stress to the mother. It is known, that ‘due to natural anatomical conditions, the fetus needs the application of considerable propelling force to enable it to push aside the constricting vaginal walls, to overcome the friction of the uteral and vaginal surfaces and to counteract the atmospheric pressure opposing the emergence of the child. In the case of a woman who has a fully developed muscular system and has had ample physical exertion all through the pregnancy, as is common with all more primitive peoples, nature provides all the necessary equipment and power to have a normal and quick delivery. This is not the case, however, with more civilized Women who often do not have the opportunity to develop the muscles needed in confinement.
 
It is the primary purpose of the present invention to provide an apparatus which will assist the under-equipped woman by creating a gentle, evenly distributed, properly directed, precision-controlled force, that acts in unison with and supplements her own efforts. In accordance with the invention, there is provided rotatable apparatus capable of subjecting the mother and the fetus to a centrifugal force directed to assist and supplement the efforts of the mother so that such centrifugal force and her efforts act in concert to overcome the action of resisting forces and facilitate the delivery of the child.

 

                     

 

 
You can find the whole patent and more images right here.  
 
Know of other weird birthing devices or practices from the past? Share them here.

 

Comments (5)

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I first heard about this device (and no, I don't believe it was ever used) in the introduction to a birth book (I wish I could remember which one!) But, apparently the people who invented it got the idea when they saw an elephant giving birth in captivity. It was spinning around and around in circles. In the wild, when an elephant goes into labor all the other females form a circle around her so that she can lean up against them. What the inventors were observing (although they didn't realize it) was what happens when a birthing mother is separated from her tribe. Just like elephants, human mamas need to be surrounded by other women to support them in labor. I thought this was an amazing parallel and a perfect story to illustrate how birth is treated in our culture.
So interesting! Also, what a wonderful explanation Courtney! Thanks for sharing it with us.
I find the use of "civilized women" in this context to be quite ironic: "In the case of a woman who has a fully developed muscular system and has had ample physical exertion all through the pregnancy, as is common with all more primitive peoples, nature provides all the necessary equipment and power to have a normal and quick delivery. This is not the case, however, with more civilized Women who often do not have the opportunity to develop the muscles needed in confinement."
 Whoa!! I can't even imagine what it would feel like to be in labor and get spun around in that contraption. I'd want to throw up, and then deck the guy who strapped me into it. And yes, Courtney - great explanation of the elephant's birthing circle, and how human mamas' birth support is very similar. My DD was a water birth, born in a circle of women - the midwife, nurse, doula, and a good friend of mine. I thought it was appropriate somehow that my only daughter was born in a roomful of only women. (DH took a brief trip out of town to help his brother with something, and she came early.)  But I also feel the use of the term "civilized women" sounds so misogynistic; does the inventor of this contraption realize that the muscles needed for birth are also needed to sustain the pregnancy in general? How would the baby stay in there for 40 weeks without a strong cervix? How would labor even begin without uterine contractions, and Braxton-Hicks for the uterus to "practice"? The whole thing is so ignorant of female anatomy and physiology. LOL
Erm... so the idea is basically to turn mom into a slingshot, and shoot baby out. Who is catching baby, and how are they going to manage it?
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