Former Royal Waterloo Hospital, Waterloo Road SE1

Chris Partridge wrote on his Ornamental Passions blog on 13 March 2014:

“The Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women was rebuilt in 1903 to designs by Waring and Nicholson, who decorated the entrance to the outpatients’ department with this charming sign by W.J. Neatby.

Made of Doulton’s faience, the letters are particularly satisfying.

A naked woman reclines at each end, hair flowing in the wind. The one on the left holds a bunch of poppy heads, a symbol of fecundity because it bursts with seeds. The ancient Greeks depicted Cybele, mother of the gods, as crowned with poppy heads.

The girl on the right holds a *Pinard stethoscope, designed specifically for use in childbirth. Apparently it is still in use today in many areas of the world, where it is regarded by midwives especially as easier to use, less intimidating for the mother and less likely to generate confusing noise than ultrasound. This is in stark contrast to the familiar rubber-tube variety, which today is worn only as a symbol of wisdom and authority (though see following post). The actual examination is done electronically.

The building is now student accommodation for the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.”

From Wikipedia:

A Pinard horn is a type of stethoscope used to listen to the heart rate of a fetus during pregnancy. It is a hollow horn, often made of wood or metal, about 8 inches (200 mm) long. It functions similarly to an ear trumpet by amplifying sound. The user holds the wide end of the horn against the pregnant woman’s abdomen, and listens through the other end.

The Pinard horn was invented by Dr. Adolphe Pinard, a French obstetrician, during the 19th century. Pinard was an early supporter of advancements in prenatal care, including closer fetal health monitoring.

Pinard horns continue to be used around the world, particularly by midwives, but also by doctors and nurses. Pinard horns are the most common fetal stethoscopes in much of Europe in contrast to the United States, where a Doppler fetal monitor is standard. It provides an alternative to more expensive Doppler. Another alternative is the fetoscope, which is a stethoscope designed for auscultating fetuses. A midwife in Mexico describes using the Pinard horn:

Sometimes we listen to the fetal heart rate with the Pinard, but if the woman is very sensitive, and it bothers her to push into her belly with the Pinard horn, then we use the Doppler. But the Doppler often transmits a lot of noise; it gets confusing. So better with the Pinard.

A Pinard horn may be used to determine the position of the fetus. A Pinard horn is more precise than a Doppler device for this purpose. A Doppler device detects a heart tone farther away from the location of origin. A Pinard horn must be pressed to a location very close to the fetal heart in order to detect it, providing a more accurate indication of fetal position. A doctor, nurse, or midwife can also use palpation and auscultation to determine fetal position.”

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