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Did You Know Chainsaws Were Created To Help In Childbirth?

When you think about chainsaws, I’d expect you imagine trees and scary Halloween movies where the villain has become out of control. 

But I bet you’d never automatically link it to… childbirth. 

Before you squirm, yes, you did read that right. 

A video on TikTok has claimed chainsaws were originally invented to help with childbirth. Metro.co.uk looked into whether there was any truth in the rumour. And it is – well, sort of. 

Why were chainsaws invented? Childbirth can be a difficult process – and in modern times it is much, much safer than it used to be. 

But many years ago the caesarean section wasn’t commonly used, because it would have been too dangerous, mostly because anaesthetic hadn’t yet been invented and it is a major operation. So when babies get stuck due to breech or being too large, surgeons had to find an alternative way to create more space for its head to fit through. 

Parts of bone and cartilage would be removed from the pelvis in a procedure called a ‘symphysiotomy’. This was originally performed by hand using a small knife, which took a long time and was very painful. 

So to make it easier, two doctors invented an early version of the chainsaw in 1780 to make the process quicker and easier. It was powered by a hand crank and had teeth on a chain that moved round the edge. It’s smaller and less scary than a modern-day chainsaw.


Chainsaws were invented for childbirth? #fyp #medicalstudent #spooky

♬ The 1920s - Erick McNerney

The success of the invention meant the chainsaw was soon used for other operations involving bone cutting – such as amputations – in theatre. 

Then it was picked up by the woodwork industry after it was discovered how quickly it could cut through hard objects. It evolved to become larger and more powerful – more like the modern chainsaw of today. 

Symphysiotomies are no longer performed in modern surgery, but are occasionally still used in third world countries when an operating room for a caesarean section is unavailable.

And if you thought the story behind this invention was disturbing, apparently Corn Flakes were actually created to stop morning masturbation.

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