Ellen To - Capstone



 Project Abstract:


My capstone is a mini-exhibit on cesarean sections at the College of Physicians. I focused on the history and growth of the cesarean sections and how it has modified with the changing time periods and health regulations. The mini-exhibit is place on the lower level floor of the museum where the uteruses are. It will have a timeline highlighting the changes of the cesarean sections and how it has progressed to this day. Along with the timeline, there is a sculpted cesarean section uterus. The goal of this project is to develop a deeper understanding on childbirth and its change throughout history, specifically cesarean sections.


Process Paper:


My capstone is a mini-exhibit on cesarean sections at the College of Physicians. I focused on the history and growth of the cesarean sections and how it has modified with the changing time periods and health regulations. The mini-exhibit is place on the lower level floor of the museum where the uteruses are. It will have a timeline highlighting the changes of the cesarean sections and how it has progressed to this day. Along with the timeline, there is a sculpted cesarean section uterus.


I chose to do this project because throughout my high school career, I have been interested in pursing nurse-midwifery and expanding my knowledge in women’s health. I also wanted to expand my knowledge of the museum and expand the knowledge of those who visit the museum through my mini-exhibit. This will ensure that I am teaching at least one person a day through the museum.


Because of my four-year relationship with the College of Physicians, I was able to work with them to incorporate more information about the impact of women’s health and the changes it has gone through. Since it was at the museum, I had to make sure that I followed both the museum regulations while incorporating the core values of Science Leadership Academy. The Museum regulations required that I kept my work consistent with the surrounding specimens and that all of my information was verified.


When it came to incorporating Science Leadership Academy’s core values, the inquiry focused around the myths, regulations, and information on cesarean sections. I was able to use the inquiry behind the topic of birth and share it with the museum visitors through the timeline, sculpture, and diagrams. For research, I researched the history of cesarean sections and pulled out key points of the changes that took place as time progressed. I also researched some procedures and tips on how to make the uteruses of a cesarean section birth and a vaginal birth. My project collaborated with my mentors at the College of Physicians and the teachers at Science Leadership Academy. As for presentation, I want to present my capstone to the Science Leadership Academy community and the Museum visitors and community. I hope to invite people who are interested in health on an opening night event at the museum and allow them to tour the museum and be the first to see my mini exhibit. Throughout this process, I have reflected on the classes that I have taken inside and outside of Science Leadership Academy throughout my high school career.


During the first quarter, I collaborated with the Museum and my doula-training groups. Together, we came up with a plan to have a cesarean section theme and have timeline, sculpture, and some museum specimens. I spent the first quarter finding out the limits and regulations that I had. During the second quarter, I focused on my exhibit and creating the sculptures and timeline. During the third quarter, I was faced with some health issues and could not work on my capstone. I think that was a big obstacle that I had to overcome but with time, I overcame it and was able to start working on my capstone. Towards the end of third quarter, everything started coming together and my Museum mentors and I worked together to plan, illustrate, and check over my capstone as the Museum’s very own mini-exhibit.


In the end, my capstone was completed and I am most proud of the turnout of the cesarean section sculpture because it not only teaches people but it incorporates all that I have learned throughout my high school career. From this whole capstone process, I learned that mini-exhibits take a lot of time and work to complete and I learned the change in cesarean sections throughout history. If I could do this capstone all over again, I would allow more time for my sculpture and timeline to come together. I think that Science Leadership Academy is a better place because I am a student that shows that I can pull together all of the programs that I have done and reflect on them through my projects and show other student that they can also reflect on other outside of school programs through their capstone.


Capstone Presentation: Mini-Exhibit 


The Cesarean Section Mini Exhibit will be up for display the week of June 9th, 2014. Below is a picture of where my capstone will be displayed. 

- more pictures coming soon - 


Capstone Timeline 


The History of the Cesarean Section


1543: Andreas Vesalius created a detailed description of the female reproductive organ presented in De Corporis Humani Fabrica.


1598: Jacques Guillimeau’s book on midwifery introduced the term “section”.


Early 1600s: The Chamberlen Clan in England introduced obstetrical forceps to aid the extraction of the fetus.


1787 – 1876: An estimate states that not a single woman survived a cesarean section in Paris. Surgeons mistakenly believed that the muscles of the uterus would contract and close spontaneously.


Late 1800s: Better access to human cadavers lead to a better understanding and preparation to the surgical processes.


1876: Eduardo Porro, an Italian professor, advocated for hysterectomy (the removal of every part of the uterus) after a cesarean section. This prevented many infections and hemorrhaging.


1882: Max Saumlnger made such a strong case for uterine sutures that surgeons started to change their practice.


1880 – 1925: Obstetricians experimented with transverse incisions in the lower segment of the uterus and this procedure reduced the risk of infection and uterine rupture.


1894: The first cesarean section was successfully performed in the United States.


1928: Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin. Penicillin is an antibiotic that is used to treat many types of infections.


1938: Almost half of the births in the United Sates were taking place in hospitals.


1940: Penicillin was purified as a drug and because readily available and dramatically reduced the death of mothers and their newborns during birth. This also accelerated the trend of medically managed pregnancy and childbirth. The experience of giving birth became less frightening.


Late 1940s – Early 1950s: Hormonal pregnancy tests were taking place to confirm fetal existence. Ultrasounds because highly important when looking at fetal development.


1955: 95% of births were taking place in hospitals.


1970: The cesarean section birth rate was about 5%.


Early 1970s: Heart monitors lead to fetal monitoring which allowed doctors to track the fetal heart rate and indicated any signs of distress.


1980 – 1985: The ability to track the fetal heart rate and indicate any sign of distress caused a huge increase in cesarean sections.


Present: 1 in 7 women experience complications during labor and delivery due to past conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pelvic abnormalities, hypertension, and infectious diseases. Cesarean sections have become the go-to procedure when these complications take place.


2011: 31.3% of births in the United States were cesarean section births.



Works Cited:



Black, Naima. "Maternity Care Coalition: Doula Training 20 Week Classes." MCC Doula

Training. Doulas of North America. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. . Address.


This source is a class that I have been attending since the start of my Senior year. It is a North Philadelphia community based program for maternity and pregnancy aid. I am currently training to be a Certified Doula for mothers-to-be who cannot afford it. I selected this source because it has given me a lot of hands on information on the pros and cons of choosing a certain birth plan. I have also been prepared to talk to mothers-to-be about all of the different birth processes that can take place that are more beneficial to the mother and the baby instead of her original plan. With the information that I have learned from this program, I have seen graphic videos of both a vaginal birth and cesarean section birth and the steps leading up to the births. One limitation of this source is that I have seen the videos of what occurs outside of the body instead of the inside of the baby.


"Cesarean Birth." UVA Health. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, 2014.

Web. 29 Jan. 2014.



I came across this source during a Google search. I am able to use this source for when I am drawing my diagram of both fetuses in the womb that are taken out vaginally and through cesarean section. I select this source for the diagram and the sketch of my sculpture for the cesarean section birth because of the incorporation of the womb, the positioning of the baby, and the doctor’s involvement in this process. I found this sources useful because I was able to use this to lay down a foundation of my sculpture of the cesarean section birth. One limitation of this source is that it does not label any of the body parts in the womb which makes it harder to research and incorporate into the sculpture and drawing due to the color of the womb.


"Children's Hospital of Wisconsin." Anatomy: Fetus in Utero. Children's Hospital of

Wisconsin, 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.



I choose to use this source because of the diagram, definition, and discreet colors that were portrayed in this source. I was able to base a large part of my sketch of my sculpture of a vaginal birth uterus. I selected this source because of its colors, organization, and the information that was offer. This source has the fetus in the womb and showed that parts the fetus passes to enter the birth canal and work its way out of the mother’s body. I was also able to base my whole vaginal birth idea around this one diagram while still having the flexibility of being able to add more to the womb and emphasize each of the body parts through the different colors. One limitation to this source is that it is very general and shows a very basic diagram. I would have liked to see more detail and description with the birth process and birth canal.


Epstein, Randi Hutter. Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to

the Sperm Bank. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.


This source is a book that was lended to me from the Program Director at the Mütter Museum. I was able to read different sections of the book that focused around the history of cesarean sections. I was able to read about the cesarean section birth through out history and all of the myths that surrounded the topic. I selected this source because I will be incorporating a timeline on the history of cesarean sections into the mini exhibit. This will show the history of cesarean sections throughout the world all in one place. This will be very helpful because there are a lot of mixed ideas of this topic. One very big limitation that I have seen from this source is that there aren’t a lot of specific dates for the important events that have happened in the past.


"How to Make Cernit Sculpt Doll." How to Make Cernit Sculpt

Doll:ãµãƒ¼ãƒ‹ãƒƒãƒˆç²˜åœŸã§OOAK Baby - YouTube. Youtube, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.





This was a video that I stumbled upon while research a “Do-It-Yourself” sculpting guide to newborn babies. This is a very helpful source because it is tutorial on how to make a hollow newborn head that has a detailed process on how to mold the clay and shape it in a way that looks like a newborn. I selected this source because it has helped me see that I will have to work a lot on the face of the baby and depict the important facial expressions of both a vaginal birth newborn and cesarean section newborn. One limitation to this source is that I think that I will not have the materials to make the same molds and movements that the person in the video did.


Interview with Peter Morgan, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA. 29 Jan. 2014.


Peter Morgan is my instructor at the Clay Studio. I was able to bring in my sketches for the wombs and the fetuses. I started working on the bottom of the wombs and I was able to talk to him about sculpting the fetuses and still keeping them hollow so they have enough time to dry and not blow up in the kiln. This also leads to the problem of a collapsed baby if the clay at the top becomes too heavy. He suggested that I not only make sketches but use some clay to sculpt a smaller sculpture to figure out all of the kinks that happen. This will allow me to use the smaller figures as a back up and first draft instead of going into the sculpting process worrying what the problems might be. He was a helpful source of information because of his experience with clay. One limitation of this source is because he is not always around the Clay Studio.


Kennedy, Pam. "SCULPTING BABIES - Hand." Pinterest. N.p., Feb. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. <http://www.pinterest.com/pin/210543351302028941/>.


While searching for tutorials on sculpting a newborn baby’s body parts, I found this pictured tutorial of how to sculpt a baby’s hand. This is very helpful because I now know where to start and I can start comple all of the tutorial pictures and bring them into practice and see what I need to sculpt. While finding this picture tutorial on the hand, I also found another tutorial on how to sculpt a baby’s foot and thi will incorporate nicely into my baby because both critical parts of the body are from the same creator. One limitation from this source is that the creator does not show me how to sculpt the rest of the body which could call for some mistakes when trying to connect the baby’s body together.


Kochenour, Niel K. "Physiology of Normal Labor and Delivery: Part I and II." Human

Reproduction, Lectures:. U of U College of Medicine, 1997. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.



This source shows the steps and process of a cesarean section birth which is extremely helpful because this will allow me to understand all of the terms when it comes to talking about and presenting my research and information on my historical timeline on  cesarean section. This source also provides a very helpful diagram that shows the importance of why doctors have to make a lower incision and shows the impact of a  cesarean section on the fetus. It also talks about where and how the baby is taken out. One limitation to this source is that there aren’t any historical resources or research that comes from or with this source.


Long, Tony. "Jan. 14, 1794: First Successful Cesarean in U.S." Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital,

14 Jan. 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.



This source provides information about a mother that has the first cesarean section in the United States of America. It takes the readers through the process and mindset of the mother, the father, and the doctors involved. I can use this source to help me see the differences from the past cesarean sections compared to what is done today. This source can also point out some differences of the steps through the differences in the time periods. I selected this source because I thought that it would be important to focus on what has happen in the United States regarding cesarean sections. One limitation to this source is that there aren't any other resources offered to readers regarding the dates and events of cesarean section births.


Weiss, Robin E. "Cesarean Section Photos: Step-by-Step." About.com Pregnancy & Childbirth. About.com, 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://pregnancy.about.com/od/cesareansection/ss/cesarean_10.htm>.


This source allowed me to explore the steps of performing a cesarean section birth through descriptions and very gore-y pictures. This allowed me to factor in the incision length and see the where and how each person in the room (whether the nurse, doctor, family member, etc.) would affect the mother and the baby. I liked this source because I was able to see the steps and that gave me a foundation on the research I will be reading. One limitation to this source is that there aren't any other resources offered to readers that regarded the dates and events of cesarean section births.


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