DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS DETAILED AND SENSITIVE CONTENT REGARDING AN INVASIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURE.
If you have ventured this far, I assume you have a strong stomach. And to answer your question, yes, chainsaws were in fact invented for childbirth. How did this first come up?
Well, TikTok user @pink038 recently went viral after sharing this detailed (and horrifying) information with the world. Which prompted us to look a little closer to verify these claims…
In the video which, has over one million views, she explains how her daughter asked if she knew what the original use of a chainsaw was. She then asked other viewers to google it and duet it with their reaction.
And while there is not too much evidence on the subject, thankfully this medical journal gives a healthy dose of insight on the procedure.
It began around the year 1783, when two Scottish male surgeons by the name of John Aitken and James Jeffray, were attempting to create a mechanism to assist with symphysiotomy, a terrifying alternative to a C-section.
Symphysiotomies were performed on mothers when their babies were stuck or could not fit through the birth canal.
The cartilage, ligaments and even bones were sawed off from the pelvic region to get the baby out. The procedure was typically performed with a knife and with no anesthesia.
Aitken and Jeffray wanted to invent something that would make symphysiotomy quicker and easier, according to the Scottish Medical Journals.
What they invented was the tool below which had to be manually cranked by hand to work. Terrifying, right?
The tool, which was coined the chainsaw, proved to work (as seamlessly as it could?) after being produced in 1790. It was used for symphysiotomy along with other surgical procedures, like amputations. The chainsaw continued to be used throughout most of the 19th century when mechanized versions were developed.
Symphysiotomy for childbirth was a common practice until the 1890s, that was until C-sections became safer and more widely practiced. But symphysiotomies were still being performed in Ireland up until 1984. It is not practiced in the US today.
Eventually, the chainsaw was made more powerful and is (hopefully) praised solely for its wood-cutting talents.
…But YIKES about it still being used for childbirth. I will never look at one the same…
LADIES ONLY! +18 only. #pink038♬ original sound – Pink038
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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