Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: pregnancy

  • Pregnancy and art

    Bojana CokićZajecar, Serbia Pregnancy, the beginning of a new life, was historically uncommon in art. The shape of a pregnant woman does not conform to classical Greek ideals of the female figure, which may have contributed to this rarity. Over time, misconceptions about this necessary, natural phenomenon have changed, and pregnancy has become more common…

  • Galactagogues in postpartum rituals

    Puja PersaudTrue Blue, Grenada, West Indies Having a baby demands drastic changes in lifestyle, eating habits, and sleeping patterns. Many cultures across the world practice postpartum rituals that “allow the mother to be ‘mothered’,” and help to “facilitate the transition into motherhood.”1 For generations, the Indian descendants residing in Guyana of South America have helped…

  • Sir Norman Gregg and the German measles

    Sir Norman Gregg. From “Rashes to Research: Scientists and Parents Confront the 1964 Rubella Epidemic.” Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Museum and Archives via US National Library of Medicine. Fair use. Sir Norman Gregg was an Australian eye doctor who in 1941 noticed that some mothers suffering from rubella during pregnancy had babies with severe eye…

  • Menstrual health in early Indian medical tradition

    Benjamin Darkwa Edmonton, Canada   Introduction Figure 1. Medical tangka: synopsis of the three humors. Romio Shrestha. Courtesy of the Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, 70.3/ 5479. As one of the oldest medical traditions, Ayurveda has existed for about two thousand years.1 Caraka and Susruta are the most famous medical compendiums of…

  • The Queen’s quickening: The phantom pregnancies of Mary I

    Eve Elliot Dublin, Ireland   Portrait of Queen Mary I of England by Anthonis Mor, 1554. Prado Museum, Madrid Spain. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. In November 1554, the people of England believed a miracle had taken place. Resplendent on her new throne, Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII, proudly revealed that she was with…

  • The navel of the world: belly buttons, innies and outies

    John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Rounded stones near Ahu Te Pito Kura on the north-eastern coast of Easter Island. Thought to symbolize the “center of the world” to the culture of the Polynesian people who first arrived at the island. 2013. Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 In…

  • Aunty Felicia

    Boma Somiari Port Harcourt, Nigeria   Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels I can’t stand blood. So my goal was to stay as far as I could from hospitals and all they come with. But then change came to me when Aunty Felicia came to my village with a missionary organization that chose medicine and…

  • A brief history of menstruation

    Fangzhou Luo Portland, Oregon, United States   Philammon declaring his love for Hypatia. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. After a few failed attempts to redirect a flirtatious student to “higher pleasures” like music, the Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Hypatia resorted to revealing where she was in her menstrual cycle to deter him. The philosopher who…

  • Justine Siegemund, opening doorways to midwifery

    Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Portrait of Justine Siegemund by Georg Paul Busch. 1690-1756 (circa). © The Trustees of the British Museum CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 In the mid-1600s, midwife Justine Siegemund was a household name for mothers in Silesia, part of modern-day Poland. She served patients of every class in Legnica, in Berlin, and…

  • Pink and yellow

    Govind Krishnan Durham, North Carolina, United States   The Magpie by Claude Monet. 1868 – 1869. Musée d’Orsay. Via Wikimedia  I am wearing pink, I have a rosy glow My breaths are even, measured, slow The doctors come and go. Come and go. Come and go. But sometimes they mutter, their heads bowed low. And…