From the ancient times until the 1800s, many women gave birth with the aid of parturition chairs, specially designed seats that allowed women to sit upright or recline while giving birth. This particular chair had padded leather rests for the mother's legs, but the parturition chairs came in a number of flavors. Some had extendable leg rests that aren't a far cry from modern gynecological stirrups. Others were much simpler, simply giving those assisting with the birth easy access to the infant while the mother remained somewhat upright.

In some families, the chairs were treated as heirlooms, passed down from one generation to the next. Hopefully, at least some these chairs got nice, pillowy upgrades through the birthing ages.

Adjustable birthing chair, Europe, 1750-1850 [Science Museum via Neatorama]

Parturition chair, Europe, 1601-1700 [Science Museum]

Parturition chair, Germany, 1701-1900 [Science Museum]

Parturition chair, Germany, 1601-1700 [Science Museum]

The 'Miraculous Chair of Palermo', parturition chair, early 18th century [Science Museum]

Copy of a 1532 parturition chair [Science Museum]