History Of OBGYN

OB-GYN History





In was in the third century when the Greek physician named Metrodora was thought to have written the world’s oldest medical document by a woman, “On the Diseases and Cures of Women. For centuries, this text was used by doctors to treat women. It discussed gynecological exams, sexually transmitted infections, and much more.




In about 1500 in Switzerland, Jakob Nufer was the first individual to complete a cesarean delivery successfully with the mother still living. The mother happened to be his wife, and she had another five children.

The first successful ovariotomy

Robert Houston completed the first successful ovariotomy in around 1700. It is debated whether it was really the first ovarian cyst drainable or ovariotomy. Although there is a lot of vagueness regarding the specifics, history was made by Houston by being the very first person to drain a big ovarian cyst.

Alexander Gordon, in 1795, put forward the idea that puerpal sepsis may occur due to an infectious contagion. He came to his conclusion from an epidemiological, observational study that was conducted in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The first successful ovarian cystectomy

Ephraim McDowell, in 1809, performed the first successful ovarian cystectomy. Jane Todd Crawford was the patient and Mary Todd Lincoln’s cousin. She decided to go ahead with the procedure after she was informed by her physician that he believed she suffered from a “post-term pregnancy.” This type of patient would formerly die painfully and slowly, so she decided to opt for experimental surgery, and was able to make a complete recovery, fortunately.

In 1812, shortly after, the first modern vaginal hysterectomy was performed; however, in part, it was by accident. G.G. Paletta attempted to remove a cancerous tumor from the cervix of a patient. He realized afterward that he had removed the whole uterus. The patient, unfortunately, died three days after the surgery, which made it unsuccessful. More hysterectomies took place unintentionally in the following years but the first successful one did not occur until more than forty years later in 1853.

Ether was administered for the first time in 1846 to a woman giving birth, which marked the start of numbing pain during the delivery process. Chloroform was used for the first time the next year as an anesthetic.

Vesicovaginal fistula was first treated successfully with surgery in 1849.

Many advances occurred during the 1860s; the first artificial insemination case came in 1866. The very first operative hysteroscopy was performed three years later.

The first oophorectomy

One of the most well-known known names in OB-GYN history was Robert Lawson Trait. He conducted the first oophorectomy in 1872 for sepsis. During the same year, Trait also performed the first bilateral oophorectomy for treating menorrhagia. He performed the very first successful cholecystostomy seven years later. He was responsible in 1880 for removing the first hydatid cycle and also the first appendectomy for treating acute appendicitis. In addition, he conducted the first successful salpingectomy for treating ectopic pregnancy.

Max Sanger in 1882 first described the classical technique for the Cesarean Section which included closing the myotomy, that went onto becoming a fundamental pillar within the field.

Spinal anesthesia first was used in 1900 in labor, which was introduced by an obstetrician by the name of Oskar Kreis. Obstetrician Walter Stoeckel during the next year used epidural anesthesia for the first time.

Marie Stopes – The Female Gynaecologist

Marie Stopes during the early 1900s came onto the scene and forever changed the OB-GYN field. Her most famous and larges contribution was her book called “Wise Parenthood,” that was published in 1918. She gave the book away for free. It was just 16 pages, but it was loaded with information on contraception, along with guidance on how women could control their fertility – and their lives. In addition to her books, she offered advice to women who wrote to her about birth control, sex, and marriage.

George Nicholas Papanicolau in 1941 introduced the first cancer screening test, for cervical cancer specifically.

Penicillin was first administered in 1942 to a human patient for treating septic abortion.

The modern technique of laparoscopy was first introduced in 144 by a gynecologist named Raoul Palmer.

The obstetrical anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar was a leader in her field, who dedicated a lot of her life to conducting research. She created what is now called the Apgar score in 1963, which ranked a newborn baby’s health. Apgar then went on to fight against rubella being transmitted by mothers to their babies while they were pregnant throughout the rubella pandemic. Apgar also promoted Rh testing, that was significant in helping to identify the risk a woman has for miscarriages.

Ian Donald created the Ultrasound in 1858. It was originally intended to use for obstetrics and went on to transform many other medical areas in addition to OB-GYN.

Patrick Christopher Steptoe in 1978 was responsible for conducting the very first successful in vitro fertilization.

Additional breakthroughs within the OB-GYN field occur on a daily basis, as it is continuously evolving. More than ever, women are improving their reproductive systems, taking over the control of their bodies, and carrying pregnancies out at older ages than what was thought to be possible before.

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