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Medical History: Women’s Anatomy & Modesty 09 Jan 2008
The anatomy of the human gravid uterus by William Hunter, 1774, picture courtesy of Wellcome Library, London
Exploring the female reproductive system in more modest times

For obstetricians and gynaecologists to do their jobs properly they inevitably need to examine women’s bodies. But with fears that women might get sexual pleasure from a speculum or have fantasies while they were under anaesthetic in the past it wasn’t easy to get accurate anatomical information about the female reproductive system. For the first in a series on women’s medical history our reporter Claudia Hammond went to speak to Lesley Hall, archivist at the Wellcome Library in London and to the medical historian Ornella Moscucci. They met in the Medicine Man exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London in front of a model of a woman’s torso from the eighteenth century.
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