5 wacky vintage pregnancy & baby gadgets you can still buy

5 wacky vintage pregnancy & baby gadgets you can still buy

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No, you're not stuck in a time warp. Each of these 5 things your grandma might have used -- or had used on her -- is still around, for sale, even in wide use in some cases.

1. Pinard horn

If you watch Call the Midwife, you may remember when Trixie first pulled one of these jobbies out in episode 3:

Um, is Trixie listening to the baby with a...bicycle horn? Or a metal champagne flute? What she has there is a Pinard horn, named after some man, naturally (men love to come racing in and naming ladies' stuff after themselves, hi, Braxton-Hicks), in this case, 19th century French OB Dr. Adolphe Pinard. Okay, he invented it, I guess he's entitled to name it after himself. Invent more stuff in the 21st century, eh, ladies?

Anyhoo, the Pinard horn allegedly works pretty well to listen in on a baby's heartbeat provided you put it in the right place, a skill that apparently requires some artistry and experience. Many caregivers across the world, including some midwives in the U.S., still use it because it doesn't require electricity or expensive machinery, and doesn't carry any risks to the fetus. You can pick up a Pinard horn at many medical supply outlets for a mere $26.76.

2. Sanitary belts

I know I'm not alone when I say I was confused by the description of Margaret's menstrual gear in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. What was it exactly she was fastening her Teenage Softies to? Some kind of thing with a...belt? And...hooks? It's all true: Margaret used super-long pads that hooked onto an elastic belt she wore around her waist.

Adhesives, the rise of tampons, and later, reusable pads and menstrual cups put an end to the Age of the Sanitary Belt. But some people still prefer them for postpartum care and...other reasons...(words is there's a thriving sanitary belt fetish scene online), so you can still easily pick them up, and the pads that go with them, $16.86 for the DMI Sanitary Belt, $3 for a pack of 12 OB Pads with Tails.

3. Birthing chairs

For milennia, women giving birth didn't lie down on a bed or float in a tub -- they sat in a chair with a hole cut out of it to give birth attendents access to your undercarriage.

Image of a birthing chair courtesy Wikimedia Commons

How archaic! Wait, no! Actually, it turns out that lying down on your back actually slows down labor in many women, and giving birth upright works great for many women. Thus, there are several companies that make modern birthing chairs/stools, including the $185 inflatable CUB Support, and the $230 Kaya Birth Stool.

The Kaya Birth Stool

4. Fetal training mannequins

Back before there were teaching hospitals, midwives and doctors learned the birthing trade with these:

Image courtesy Museum of Health Care at Kingston

The obstetric or fetal mannequin was invented by....a woman (and yet not named after her, sigh)! Angélique du Coudray was an 18th century midwife who invented what she called "the machine," a life-sized mannequin made of fabric, leather, stuffing, and sometimes, human bones. The idea was to make a realistic doll to show anyone who needed to learn to assist at births how the whole process works.

It's a need that still exists, and so do obstetric mannequins. The Simulaids Obstetrical Manikin, its copy helpfully tells us, comes in African-American or Caucasian skin tones, with "disposable umbilical cords, clamps, easily replaceable spare vulva, powder to make simulated blood, a modular pregnant belly overlay, and a clear abdominal overlay," as well as a realistic newborn with fontanels. The price? $647.

5. Obstetric forceps

Today's moms have heard horror stories galore about forceps deliveries, which were much more common in the days when birth mostly involved knocking moms out and pulling their babies out, rather than relying on the laboring woman to push.

A drawing of a forceps delivery by William Smellie, the amusingly named 18th century doctor who popularized the instrument. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

But though forceps aren't used as commonly as in yesteryear, they still have a place in hospital obstetric wards, and as such are commonly available for sale.

Depending on what kind you want -- there are different shapes and types -- you can pick up a set of obstetrical forceps for about $350 and up.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: CAILLOU THE GROWNUP - A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE (December 2022).

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