Westchester Medical Society
Uterine forceps were developed by Peter Chamberlen, the obstetrician-surgeon to Queen Henrietta, wife of King Charles I of England. They assisted in difficult births by rotating an infant’s head when the cervix was fully dilated. This instrument prevented infant deaths and was used when all other persons had exited the birthing room and the mother had been blindfolded. The uterine forceps were kept a secret by the Chamberlen family for 150 years. This instrument may have been created in the 1850’s, as the American forceps design originated from English forceps, that had a shorter blade than longer French forceps. Shorter forceps were used when the fetal head moved down the pelvis. The long forceps were used when the fetal head was in the middle to upper part of the mother's pelvis. Used in Cincinnati, OH, USA.