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Video: Caesarean section at full term for contracted pelvis (1930)


My friend Grace hit the motherlode of videos for medical history junkies on the Wellcome Film YouTube channel.

This series of three silent British films from 1930 shows and describes (with language that reads like a standardization checklist) in detail the cesarean section.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

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Reader Comments (8)

Wow, this looks so violent and traumatic to the mother's organs. Do you have any links to a "modern" Caesarean to compare?

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb

There are a lot of videos on YouTube. I think a lot are age-restricted based on YouTube's Community Guidelines. http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines

May 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterJill

That poor kid looks terrible, no muscle tone, probably the anesthesia!

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Flaherty

I particularly like the recommendation that she come early the next time for induction of labor. Not that her contracted pelvis is gonna be any bigger, and now she has a classical uterine scar, but these guys are stone proVBAC.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjust sayin

I wonder if your friend could find a film made by the Upjohn company, of a cesarean being done while the mother was hypnotized and singing through-out the procedure. I saw it over 30 years ago.

I also wonder if other women have a body response to the visuals. It could be universal for all women, or unique to those of us who have experienced a c/s.

I'm fairly certain that approximately 50% of the time, a woman's uterus is removed during repair. No wonder bowel complications are associated with c/s!

Jill, thank you so much for posting these videos - what a reality check! Some would argue the surgery is different today (hmmm, guess that's why the 'natural cesarean' is gaining popularity). It is still physically just as invasive, IMO.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

@just sayin... LOL!

You remember, though, that there was that huge uptick in VBAC in rachitic moms in the early 30's and OBs pushed for it to be the standard of care and encouraged it. Then in the late 30's, a vice presidential candidate came along and there was a bad outcome lawsuit with an award of nearly 1,000 dollars and there would be VBAC no more ever again. The end.

/rewriting history

May 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterJill

That was incredibly difficult to watch and I have had watched several cesarean videos. It looks brutal. My grandmother had a cesarean in 1942 with my mom and was told in no uncertain terms that having another baby at all would endanger her life and the baby's. So, my mother ended up being an only child. I can't imagine that her cesarean was all that much different than this one. She was also quite young and very petite.

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

Finally found a complete modern sequence as a medical course module: http://www.oerafrica.org/FTPFolder/health/caesarean/course_intro/index.htm

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb
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