Thursday, April 14, 2011

G. Spratt's Obstetric Tables, 1850

Apropos of Duke University's beautiful exhibit of anatomical flap books, I posted about some examples of this genre in OHSU Library collections. I finally had a chance to get some quick snaps of a fabulous recent acquisition:

Spratt, G. Obstetric Tables: Comprising Graphic Illustrations, with Descriptions and Practical Remarks : Exhibiting on Dissected Plates Many Important Subjects in Midwifery. Philadelphia: James A. Bill, 1850.

The first flap of Table IX shows the following:

"This is the most frequent of all the wrong presentations of the head. In this position the head is usually longer in passing through the pelvis...but if the pelvis be well formed, and the action of the uterus strong, in the majority of cases the child will expelled alive by the natural efforts..."

Flip back the first flap to see:

"In this unfavorable position, the head is ... liable to become arrested in its progress through the pelvis..."

Flip back the second flap and you get:

"...the head being arrested in its progress by its untoward position, it becomes expedient to alter the position by turning the face into the hollow of the sacrum..."

Flip back the untoward baby's head to see the last plate:

"The management of these cases must, in a great measure, be left to the efforts of nature, as the child may pass by the pains only, after a tedious labor. But the features are often amazingly distorted, and it is well known that long and severe pressure on the head in such presentations often destroy the child in the birth. Therefore if assistance can be rendered either by the forceps of vectis to shorten the labor...the judicious use of such instruments must be acknowledged to be of real benefit."

Spratt's Obstetric Tables will be cataloged for the History of Medicine Collection, and is available for research in HC&A.

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