Centrifugal Force?

Here’s an example of a patent, from 1996, that we’re glad stayed on the drawing board -- a device that uses centrifugal force to help a mom have a baby.

Newborn baby with a blanket

So … instead of relying on your body to deliver your child, this patent filer felt that a crazily-detailed device (that utilizes centrifugal force) would help “civilized” moms, who don’t have the super fit body women in primitive cultures have, deliver their baby. Huh?

How it works

According to the patent, “In the case of a woman who has a fully developed muscular system and has had ample physical exertion all through the pregnancy, as is common with all more primitive peoples, nature provides all the necessary equipment and power to have a normal and quick delivery. This is not the case, however, with more civilized women who often do not have the opportunity to develop the muscles needed in confinement.”

Basically, mom lies on her back, feet in stirrups, and is strapped in -- presumably so she doesn’t go rocketing off the table. The device rotates with enough speed to create centrifugal force, which is said to assist her with delivering her baby. It comes complete with a net between the legs to “catch” the baby, as it would be impossible for anyone to, you know, stand there and catch the baby.

Totally unnecessary

It’s amazing to me that someone spent this much time and effort planning, designing and possibly building one of these things. I also have to wonder, who would volunteer to test it out?

The bottom line is, despite our relatively sedentary lifestyle, modern women are still quite capable of birthing their children using nothing more than their own bodies. This device (as well as many hospitals today) actually goes against our natural instincts when it comes to childbirth. Moms usually find that letting gravity work with them, in an upright or semi-upright position, works far better than flat on the back with her legs in stirrups.

This is called the lithotomy position -- one that was initially used, in long-ago medical times, for removal of kidney stones through an incision in the perineum. It has benefits for the doctor, who has a fabulous view, but not so many benefits for mom, who must work against gravity when pushing her baby out.

Regardless, we’re glad we don’t have to walk into a delivery suite and see what looks like a torture device.

More on birth

10 tips for having a natural birth
Birth plans: Taking a new look
Why are home births on the rise?

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