Volume 4, Issue 4

Pregnancy and birth: Myth and reality – a special feature
On a miraculous birth


The midwives of San Gimignano

alchemy's daughter

Princess Charlotte

Princess charlotte

The birth of Gargantua




Historical contraception

Al Razi

In this issue we cover various aspects of pregnancy and birth among gods and humans. We show how gods can change themselves into clouds or beasts, or have their offspring arise from the foam of the sea or the heads of their fathers. For the daughters of Eve, the pregnancy is longer and the delivery more painful, as a consequence of the unpleasant affair with the forbidden fruit. We also show how Saint Nicolas was able to stand upright as soon as he was born, how Bacchus was born from Jupiter’s thigh, and how the giant Gargantua came into this world. Please read about women’s agelong struggle for reproductive freedom, poor Princess Charlotte, and the use of forceps to extract babies from their suffering mothers.


Feature Articles

On a miraculous birth …. Frank Gonzalez-Crussi

The midwives of San Gimignano, 1336 …. Mary A. Osborne

Princess Charlotte …. George Dunea & Einar Perman

Medical History

Historical contraception …. Emily R. W. Davidson

Changes in childbirth in the US: 1750-1950 …. Laura Kaplan

Forceps: a brief history … Sara Buck
Leaders in the development of Western obstetric practices … Sara Buck

Art, Literature, and Medicine

Fertility/futility …. Raina Cowan

Death lullabies in Russian culture …. Tatiana Novikova

Renaissance birth trays… Rachel Baker

How Gargantua was born

Doctors, Patients, and Diseases

Miracle on Kedvale …. Mary Sommers

When angels sing …. Mary Sommers

A silent birth …. Rose A. Devasia
Gynecology and obstetrics …. Matko Marusic

On Becoming a Medical Professional

Broken water …. Erika L. Lundgrin

Emotional medicine …. Lauren Fore

From our Past Issues

The dead mother series of Egon Schiele …. Prudence Gourguechon

Lost babies …. Nancy Gershman

Famous Hospitals

Montreal Children’s Hospital …. Barry Pless


Apple tree, Baby poems …. Jeanne Bryner

At 38 weeks, wondering …. Catherine Belling

Mother’s Day is different this year …. Diana Heiman

Plaintive music …. Ron Domen

After the funeral …. Terri Kirby Erickson

No good options …. David G. Thoele

In the NICU, The tumor …. Lydia Kang

Heavy. Period., We breathe together …. Cheryl L. Kaplan Zachariah

Hektorama: Divine Births

Eve: fashioned from Adam’s rib

Athena: born from her father’s head

Birth of John the Baptist

Pegasus: born from Medusa’s blood

Aphrodite: born from the foam of the sea

The birth of Moses

The birth of Santa Claus

On a miraculous birth