Obstetrical Forceps
obstetrical forceps
obstetrical forceps

Peter Chamberlen 1600

The forceps to aid birth were invented by Peter the elder Chamberlen (c.1560–1631) around 1600.

The Chamberlens had migrated to England in 1569 to escape the religious violence in France. From his roots as a barber-surgeon working in London, he became the Royal obstetrician-surgeon during the reign of King Charles I. With his brother they pioneered man-midwifery or the accoucheur. Midwifery was very much a female domain and it was frowned upon for a man to be present at the birth.

Family Secret

The family kept their new invention of the forceps a close secret for over 150 years to protect their lucrative trade. The forceps were only taken out of it's carved box during a birth.
Eldest son of Peter the younger
Eldest son of Peter the younger Peter Chamberlen the third
Peter Chamberlen the third
Born1601
Died1683 | Age 82

The evidence of the forceps existence is only found later from around 1634, but is known the brothers carried out the procedure before then. The secret was passed down through the family.

Chamberlen forceps bare remarkable resemblance to modern forceps
Chamberlen forceps bare remarkable resemblance to modern forceps


Tags: Forceps Birth Midwife
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