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Three glass funnels, from ‘Twilight Sleep’ apparatus, United Kingdom, 1933-1955

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The glass funnels are shown here with their individual metal cases and a length of rubber tubing. Together they are part of Jarman’s apparatus to intravenously inject anaesthetic during childbirth. This was a technique known as ‘Twilight Sleep’. The apparatus used a three-way syringe invented by anaesthetist Ronald Jarman (1894–1973). Twilight Sleep used a mixture of morphine for pain relief and a memory suppressant called scopolaminem. It was given to women during labour and the sedation usually resulted in a lack of inhibitions. Women were often physically restrained during labour and had little memory of the events. Many women felt it was unacceptable that the sedation largely ‘removed’ mothers from the real experience of childbirth. But their traumas went largely unnoticed because, until relatively recently, it was uncommon for fathers to be present at the birth.

Object number:

1982-561/272

 

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    Glossary:

    Glossary: anaesthetic

    An agent that causes insensitivity to pain. Applied to either the whole body (general anaesthetic) or a particular area or region (local anaesthetic).

    Glossary: obstetrics

    A branch of medicine dealing with the care of women. This care occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of recovery from childbirth.

    Glossary: injection set

    No description.