Tag Archives: Birth Pregnancy and Obstetrics

A brief life

Andrea Eisenberg  Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States   Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash  I felt his legs wiggling in the sac of warm fluid surrounding him. His body was so tiny, his kicks were like a feather passing across my fingers. But his warm, dark world was about to slip away. Did he already sense it? Or […]

Traditional obstetrics in Isaan, Thailand

Khwan Phusrisom Durham, United Kingdom   Fig 1. The house in which I was born. Births were in a living room, far left. The natal hearth was under the roofed veranda. Sketch by author, ©. May be reproduced for non-commercial purpose Traditional midwifery and the culture of birth in Isaan, Northeast Thailand, may hold lessons for the prevention […]

The dream of the uterus

F. Gonzalez-Crussi  Chicago, Illinois, USA   Front page of the book that started the debate on “the thinking uterus” at the University of Bologna: Genial days of the dialectic of women, reduced to its true principle, etc.” Naples, 1763. More than one-half century ago, it was my duty to examine and describe, day in and […]

A physician and a pregnant patient

A very pregnant young woman, not feeling her best, is sitting with a doctor in consultation. Another woman in the background is holding a container full of urine that the doctor will examine. But presumably the doctor has already determined what ails the patient, for he is writing a prescription. The ubiquitous chamber pot is […]

A birth remembered

F. Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. The Birth of Benjamin and the Death of Rachel, by Francesco Furini (1600 or 1603-1646). Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Memory is to old age as presbyopia (far-sightedness) is to eyesight. Presbyopia makes you lose the ability to see clearly at a normal near […]

James Simpson, who made childbirth painless

A large jolly man with broad shoulders, large hands, blue eyes, and a charismatic personality, James Young Simpson was said to have been the most popular man in Edinburgh since the death of Sir Walter Scott.1 Born in 1811 at Bathgate, he was the seventh son of a village baker in a poor family housed in […]

Infertility in Nigeria and the race for parenthood

Princewill Udom Port Harcourt, Nigeria   Infertility is a growing problem in Nigeria. In one study, researchers found that female gender-related causes accounted for 42.9% of infertility, in contrast to male causes, which were about half that number.1 Common causes are broadly categorized into genetic, physiological, endocrine, and lifestyle factors. One consequence of this problem […]

Two hearts beating: the history and benefits of “Kangaroo Care”

Nursan Cinar Hamide Zengin Sakarya, Turkey   Mother and her baby during kangaroo care  Two Hearts Beat at the Same Time Photograph: Hamide Zengin The rate of preterm birth is between 5 and 18% worldwide. Prematurity is the most important cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity, especially in developing countries. According to the World Health […]

An unusual pregnancy: the gestation and delivery of the Nun of Watton

Barbara Hargreaves Durham, UK   Yates Thompson 13 f.156v Learn more Sometime around the year 1150, a four-year old girl was given to the Gilbertine community of nuns at Watton, England. There she grew up, took vows, and became a nun herself. It appears that she was ill-suited for the life of a religious sister, and […]

Seventeenth century obstetric illustrations

Around the middle of seventeenth century man-midwifes or accoucheurs began to revolutionize the practice of obstetrics by reforming education, introducing scientific principles, and developing safe rules for the conduct of the delivery and the use of the forceps. Foremost among this new brand of practitioners were two Scotsmen, William Smellie and his one-time student William […]