Educating Midwives with the World's First Simulator: Madame du Coudray's Eighteenth Century Mannequin

Elaine Carty, RN, MSN, CNM

Madam Angelique Marguerite du Coudray (b.1712-d.1769) taught 10,000 midwifery students in 70 cities and towns in France at the command of Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI of France. Her goal was to reduce the high rates of infant mortality in France through careful teaching of the technical, ethical and moral aspects of midwifery to young women around the country. Her course of study included 40 lessons over two months. To enhance her teaching she developed an obstetrical mannequin and wrote six editions of a textbook. Her first mannequin was highly accurate in its anatomical measurements and had many pieces that allowed the student midwife (or physician) to practice normal birth, breech births, complicated births and births at different gestational ages. One of these mannequins is on view at Musée Flaubert et d'histoire de la medicine in Rouen, France. This remarkable midwife leaves an important legacy.

Obstetrics/education, history, humans, clinical competence, anatomy, obstetrics/delivery

This article has been peer reviewed.


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