Fetal Teaching Model (From the Collection #23)

The Story

Special obstetrical dolls have been used to teach midwives about the mysteries of childbirth since at least the 18th century. The most famous of these mannequins, also known as a ‘phantom’ is perhaps la machine of Madame du Coudray, the renowned midwife to King Louis XV of France. The Musée Flaubert in Rouen, France has one of these machines in its collection. That artefact includes a large and small foetus, placenta, and even twins. Madame du Coudray’s accompanying textbook, Abrégé de l’art des Accouchements (Summary of the Art of Childbirth) featured colour plates of delivery technique.

The chamois-covered foetal mannequin with placenta in the Museum of Health Care’s collection was used in the 20th century at the Kingston General Hospital to demonstrate childbirth and delivery to medical and nursing students until the 1960s. It was likely used with an obstetrical phantom, also known as an obstetrical birthing teaching model, which is a ceramic box-shaped womb model by Mayer & Phelps, an example of which can also be found in the Museum’s collections. Foetal teaching dolls are still available today.

The Specs

ACCESSION # (Web Link):996003121 a-b
Object Name:Obstetrical/Fetal Teaching Model
Manufacturer (Country):Unknown (Unknown)
Date Made:Unknown
MESH Code:Infant, Newborn — models
Placenta — models
Obstetrics — models
Models, Anatomic
MM= Teaching Materials — models

About “From the Collection”

“From the Collection” was a project originally published in 2010 to the Museum of Health Care’s website by former Curator Paul Robertson, with the goal being to highlight some the Museum’s most unique items that might be missed in our collection. Each artifact is presented as a bite-sized story, related information, and a link to it’s fully detailed entry on our free online digital catalogue!

Posts in the “From the Collection” series were originally created with support from Funded by the Ontario Museums and Technology Fund. The support of the Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is acknowledged.

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