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Title: A fetus in the posterior presentation during labour
Description: An image of a fetus in the uterus, being delivered with the assistance of forceps. The fetus is in posterior presentation, so has its head downwards but is facing away from its mothers spine instead of towards it. The image is shown in profile, with a cross section of the structures surrounding the fetus, including the uterus, spine and coccyx, pelvis and bladder (M, vesica urinaria). Forceps are shown holding the fetus? head (L). The image shows a possible complication of this position, and helps to explain the reason for it, and the text gives instructions on how forceps may be used to help deliver the child. The book this is taken from contains a series of plates showing pregnancy up to full term and labour, along with difficult presentations. Each plate has a page of text to describe it, and references to the authors? other books on midwifery. The book offered instruction and advice on delivery, but explained complications and the processes of pregnancy and birth by focusing on anatomy. When this volume was published, the role of traditional midwives and man-midwives was strongly contested, and relatively little work was being done on understanding pregnancy and childbirth. Anatomy, however, was a highly respected scientific subject, and the publication of a volume on pregnancy based in anatomy helped to raise the profile of both men-midwives and the study of childbirth in medicine. The use of forceps in volumes such as this helped to popularise their use among men-midwives, although the authors often had a conservative attitude to their use.
Categories: Surgery, Diseases, Anatomy, Biological science, Anatomy/ Genitalia and urinary tract, Biological science/ Reproduction and childbirth, Anatomy/ Embryonic structures, Diseases/ Pregnancy complications, Human figures and faces, Human figures and faces/ Fetus  
Catalogue record:

"A sett of anatomical tables, with explanations, and an abridgment, of the practice of midwifery: with a view to illustrate a treatise on that subject, and collection of cases", William Smellie (1754)

Date of original image publication: Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 GMT 1754
Colour: Monochrome
Illustrator: van Rymsdyk, Jan
Subject headings: Abdomen , Anatomy , Biological science , Embryonic structures , Equipment , Pregnancy complications , Reproduction and childbirth , Surgery , Surgical instruments , Urogenital system , Viscera
Rights : Copyright Discovery Library 2008
Publisher: Discovery Library