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‘Baby bubble’ pregnancy therapy for moms-to-be

The Story

Easier labour! A smarter baby! Sitting with your feet up for an hour a day! Small wonder that a doctor in South Africa has found plenty of willing pregnant patients for the curious-looking invention dubbed the "baby bubble." Placed over a woman's belly and powered by a vacuum cleaner, the decompression suit eases pressure on the uterus and boosts blood flow to the fetus. Strong as the testimonials are, a guest doctor on this 1971 Take 30 episode says the device's efficacy is dubious.  

Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: Dec. 23, 1971
Host: Adrienne Clarkson, Paul Soles
Duration: 26:19

Did You know?

• The technique of abdominal decompression was developed by South Africa's Dr. Ockert Heyns in the mid-1950s. Initially he intended for it to be used during labour, but later recommended its use from about the 18th week of pregnancy, but not after contractions began.


• Studies have dismissed decompression as a beneficial treatment either for the mother or child. In an introduction to one such study in the British Medical Journal in 1974, the authors wrote: "Obstetrics is peculiarly open to ideas for treatment which superficially seem slightly eccentric yet catch the imagination of pregnant women. One example which has confused the obstetric scene for the last 15 years is abdominal decompression." The article concluded: "For most obstetricians and their patients nature's abhorrence of a vacuum seems likely to prevail."



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