History and evolution of obstetrics and gynecology until our era

history of gynecology and obstetrics

As in many other areas of continuous research, medicine and technology are leaving their mark over the years thanks to the advances and achievements made.

Medicine is a field that will never cease to amaze us, its continuous research and technology created for it, are getting that day after day, the cure of many diseases and possible risks, can be overtaken improving the life quality of the patients.

In particular, let’s focus on the moment of childbirth. The process from the moment a woman becomes pregnant, until she deliveries, is long and complex, and often goes through phases where risk and danger become the main protagonists. Throughout history, gynecology and obstetrics have gone through phases of continuous growth, marking a before and after with its continuous evolution.

Overviewing this evolution, let’s talk about prehistoric obstetrics; the first writings on gynecology are dated at 1800 a.C . Flinders Petrie discovered the Papyrus of Kahun where long evolution of medical knowledge since year 3000 a. C. was revealed until along with a series of medical observations and remedies that were used to treat many of the existing problems related to obstetrics in Ancient Egypt.

Arriving at the Christian’s era, it was said that the first true midwife was Paul of Aegina, practicing in Egypt and Asia Minor. The Hebrews were the ones who introduced the use of the Speculum to examine vaginally women who suffered different types of problems.

At the beginning of the Christian era, the vaginal speculum began to be used to examine women, which consisted of a mobile cylinder contained in a lead tube Click To Tweet

In Ancient Greece doctors used metal probes andwood’s dilators for the exploration of the uterus. They were the pioneers who began using forceps in order to make the birth moment easier, back in the 2nd century. Improvements continued appearing but during the Middle Ages, between the 2nd and 16th centuries, it was a time of stagnation and retreat in medical matters in general, until the  “Renaissance of Obstetrics” which took place in the 16th century.

Ambrosio Paré (father of surgery), invents a mechanical device to dilate the cervix, and puts in use clamps and hooks for the extraction of fetuses that died without being able to be born spontaneously. Not too much later of it, Jean Palfyn gave the Paris Academy of Medicine an instrument called “iron hands”. This design, was the foundation of the spatulas, which appeared centuries later.

It seemed as a revolution era for obstetrics when in 1650 it was officially authorized that men could attend childbirths. One of the things that helped the progress of the discipline being the Frenchman Francois Mouriceau and the Dutch Hendrick van Deventer considered the founders.

In the eighteenth century, the Cesarean section occupied the attention of physicians since the resources of the forceps and symphysiotomy were not sufficient to act successfully in the difficulties that were observed during the course of a birth.

Definitely, the evolution of medicine and surgery, no doubt they make the nineteenth century a quite breakthrough period. In the field of gynecology and obstetrics there were many contributions that explain the process reached in the twentieth century.


evolution throughout history in gynecology and obstetrics

It would be a very long list that we would have to do to enumerate all the procedures that have been incorporated in recent decades, but what can be seen is that the rhythm of change that was held centuries ago keep running nowadays.

Obstetrics has been incorporated into the center of medicine, science and technology, being a pillar of life and reproduction

In recent decades the evolution of medicine in general has improved the prevention of diagnosis, management and prognosis of different pathologies and its influence into the functioning of the health systems, but we must highlight the great evolution in Neonatal Pediatrics, in Neonatology and its relationship with obstetrics, since they have allowed an unexpected progression in the prognosis of high-risk pregnancies to this day. What will change at 21st century?


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