Painless parturition.



"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain, and thy conception; in pain thou shadt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over three." Gen. 3-16.

This was a curse inflicted on Mother Eve for disobedience, and we find today that woman is still more or less disobedient, both to God and man, and her desire is so strong for her husband (a man), that she often goes to the bad because of that desire. Up to the time of the curse she had not conceived, but, soon after being driven out of the Garden, conception occurred, and this strange and peculiar phenomena since that time has been occurring at frequent intervals, under the slightest provocation, and nearly always undesired.

The present covenant coming, abrogated the curse ("Old things have passed away, and all things have become new"), but the pains of parturition remain. Therefore, since the passing of the curse with the "old things," an attempt to remove the pangs of parturition is in no way a violation of God's edict. At once comes the question, is painless parturition possible? We answer without hesitation, yes.

Given a young woman (and we encountered one such this morning while making a call on an old lady), brought up fifteen miles from my place—on the head of a creek where the hills are so steep that to plow them is impossible, and the cultivation of the crops is done with a hoe—whose facial features and complexion would defy and put to shame the efforts of the best artist to even imitate; her short sleeves revealed a forearm round, plump, firm, larger than my own, and a wrist that would ornament a diamond-bespangled, blue-enameled gold bracelet. We have attended a few of the brought up in the open air, work in the field primipara, and beheld them come down to labor, to the full dilatation of the os without a pain. To be sure, there was some sensation which told them labor was beginning, but no real pain. At the end of full dilatation, three or four expulsive uterine throes and all would be over, and all this without one groan, moan, or murmur. But what shall we do for those brought up in the leisure of city life, fashions and fads, crippled with corsets and other viscera displacing devices, and who know not of the pleasure of being normally well? Ah, this is the case which stubs the toe of medical science, racks our brain, robs our nights of sleep, spreads a mantle of mourning, and brings bereavement to the home. Can nothing be done? Yes, much if false modesty among country folks and fastidiousness of the city kind would but let us.

First, let a woman when she first finds that she is in this way consult her family physician, and he, if he is a sensible one, will go into a close and rigid examination of her case, holding up to the light, as it were, every little ailment, no matter how trivial, giving each one the specific treatment indicated. All the secretions must be carefully looked after, from the mouth, skin, kidneys, bowels and vagina, and proper treatment instituted; and she must be instructed to keep back nothing, but tell it all, making a complete confident of the consultant. Often a modesty, or diffidence prompts them to refrain from making statements which appear of small moment to them, but which are of much importance to the physician making a careful study of the case, and let us emphasize lest he should forget, that it is the small things in medicine which count for great things in the end.

Having come to a full knowledge of the case thus far, we advise that for the last three months of gestation she refrain from eating any meats. This will insure a plump well-developed babe, but not over-grown, if in addition to this she be directed to live principally on a subacid fruit diet. Then we further advise that every evening at dusk she walk a half mile, and return at a good brisk gait, take a tepid water bath, sponging the privates and lower abdomen for from ten to fifteen minutes, dry them well and give them a thorough rubbing with olive oil, after which she should retire for the night. Mild means should be used to secure a full and copious evacuation of the bowels every morning, if the fruit diet does not cause the same. For the last two months of her carrying period she should have caulophyllum (spec.) one drachm, water four ounces, mix, S, a teaspoonful every three hours. My word for it if she conforms to and complies with all the advice and directions set forth in this short paper, when the doctor receives the call he will have to hustle if he arrives in time, even if she lives only a few blocks from his office; and if the call is several miles in the country he is nearly sure to be late, and miss a part of the fee; and this becomes one of the cardinal objections to this plan of treatment, because it obviates a long and tedious labor, and lessens the fee by eliminating the use of forceps. No H. M. C. or morphine and scopolamine treatment can be as safe, efficient and satisfactory as the above course, and if we add to this during the few last throes of labor a few whiffs of chloroform the patient will rise up and bless us the remainder of our days.

National Eclectic Medical Association Quarterly, Vol. 7, 1915-16, was edited by William Nelson Mundy, M.D.