Front Page Titles (by Subject) ON THE FŒTAL NATURE. - The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen
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ON THE FŒTAL NATURE. - Hippocrates, The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen 
The Writings of Hippocrates and Galen. Epitomised from the Original Latin translations, by John Redman Coxe (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1846).
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ON THE FŒTAL NATURE.
This treatise is by Gardeil regarded as merely a continuation of the preceding—and, in fact, whoever the author of that may be, at its conclusion he states his intention of recurring to the subject.
Haller says, that although this was by the ancients ascribed to Hippocrates, yet it is assuredly spurious, even in the opinion of Mercurialis. The system it sustains is very consistent, displays an acute acquaintance with nature, and was written posterior to Theophrastus and Herophilus. This is deducible from the great anatomical knowledge it demands, as well as from the anatomical experiments on generation, and the incubation of the egg. We find herein the account of a female musician, who, by the author’s direction, in violation of the oath, was made to abort by violent jumping, of what greatly resembled a human ovum! A mechanical explanation is afforded of sundry phenomena, through the means of breathing, and of attraction.
The male and female seed commingled, become heated, says the author, and breathing is excited, by which the cooler air is attracted, and that which was heated escapes, and thereby promotes the formation of an umbilicus. At length a pellicle is formed, and the articulations ensue in about six weeks, and aliment is received by means of the umbilicus. From the oozing of the blood a placenta is produced. At length, from want of adequate nourishment, the fœtus bestirs himself, breaks his membranes, and headforemost issues into daylight. All this is illustrated by the author from the generation of trees and fowls, who (remarks Haller) may be the same that wrote the preceding book,—for we find, in both, the two varieties of seed spoken of, from which, by different proportions and location in the uterus, a difference of sex ensues, or twins are produced. Indeed, Mercurialis considers it as a part of the former book. We find in it the book “De Morbis Muliebribus” quoted.
As the general argument or heading of the book, Haller states it to consist of an account of the procreation and principles of the fœtus, and of every thing having reference to the fœtal state of both sexes. Of the period of its formation; its various movements; of the generation of the menses and milk: all of which are illustrated by references to plants and to eggs. It treats, moreover, of twins, and of the difference of sex.
The heading of each chapter, from Haller, will sufficiently point out the order of the above particulars.
Chap. I. The seed in the uterus attracts the air, and is nourished by this alternation of heat and cold. Becoming heated, it repels this air, and attracts that which is cold.
Chap. II. Of the seminal respiration, and formation and increase of the fœtal covering. Menstruation is absent in healthy pregnancy.
Chap. III. Why the menses, retained in the state of pregnancy, are not so injurious as in the unimpregnated, from the importance of it in the breathing and nutrition of the fœtus. When conception ensues; and what symptoms succeed the suppression of menstruation.
Chap. IV. Of the wonderful and primary formation of the fœtus and the secundines, and how accomplished.
Chap. V. Of the time required in the formation of a boy, and of a girl; of necessary lochial purgation in females, and danger from their suppression.
Chap. VI. Of the wonderful formation of the fœtal parts; how and when effected. Of the formation of bones, vessels, nerves, nails, hair, and cuticle.
Chap. VII. Of the motion of the fœtus, commencing in the male at three, and in the female at four months; of the formation of milk, and its conveyance to the uterus and to the breasts.
Chap. VIII. The fœtus in its origin, nutrition, and growth, is compared to the germination of plants, in their roots, branches, leaves, fruit, seed, as effectuated by external causes, such as water, air, season, temperature, and vicissitudes of weather, &c.
Chap. IX. The health of the fœtus is greatly dependent on that of the mother. Of the situation of the fœtus in utero, and of its respiration by the umbilicus, with its similitude to the incubated egg. Of a ten-month birth and upwards, and of those below that term;—conception facilitated by menstrual purgation.
Chap. X. Of the generation of birds in the egg; air transmitted through it;a the chick excluded at twenty days. Analogy of birth in birds, to that of man. Of easy, difficult, and laborious births; the umbilicus and secundines discharged last.
Chap. XI. Of the generation of twins, male and female, or of a greater number.
A transient exposé of Gardeil’s division of this treatise, under twenty-two paragraphs or sections, will further illustrate its character.
Sec. I. Of the primary formation of the fœtus after coition; the importance of the breath (souffle, spiritus, πνευμα) is strongly insisted on, and explained.
Sec. II. A ventilation or fixation or breathing of air is established in the heated seed, and is followed by the formation of a membrane around it, having passages left in it for the issue and entry of the air. Here the author recounts his examination of an abortion of six days, from a female musician, induced by powerful jumping or leaping, by his direction, in absolute contradiction to that part of the oath, by which every means of inducing abortion is prohibited. A particular detail is given of this examination.
Sec. III. The embryo is nourished by the maternal blood that goes to the uterus.
Sec. IV. Of the formation of other membranes, attached to each other, and all tending to the navel; then of the flesh. A digression on the purport and utility of the menses in females; the danger from their obstruction, and the symptoms following; all which the author will enlarge upon, in a treatise on the diseases of women.
Sec. V. Of the formation of the fœtal organs by the conjunction of similar parts, arising primarily from the parental organs; details of each.
Sec. VI. Of the period of the formation respectively of boys or girls.
Sec. VII. Of the discharges after parturition; their continuance; variable in time and amount. Their character and appearance; correspondence in various points with the male or female respectively.
Sec. VIII. This subject is still continued; and the continued increase of the fœtus.
Sec. IX. Of the formation of the bones, epiphyses, fingers, nails, vessels, &c.
Sec. X. The hair of the head, and of the body; beard; that of the pubes, &c.; why it occurs only at puberty; and in females is altogether wanting on the chin, as likewise in the male, if castrated in infancy.
Sec. XI. Of the period of commencing motion of the fœtus, and the formation of milk.
Sec. XII. The nourishment and growth of the fœtus compared with the seed of plants, which develope themselves in order to give origin to a new one.
Sec. XIII. A digression relative to the nutrition of vegetables. On the interior state of the earth in winter and summer; and on the fructification of trees.
Sec. XIV. Subject continued. The developements of plants by grafting explained.
Sec. XV. Fœtal nutrition resumed. Conclusion of all is, that the nature of vegetation, and that of the life of man, are perfectly analogous, from first to last.
Sec. XVI. Of the situation of the fœtus in utero, and its membranes arising from its navel.
Sec. XVII. Analogy between the fœtal formation and the production of a bird from an egg. Experiments on eggs. An umbilicus in the egg.
Sec. XVIII. On parturition; causes leading thereto; time of, fixed at ten months.
Sec. XIX. Of the sources of deception which have led to the belief of pregnancy beyond ten months.
Sec. XX. Some parts recapitulated. A comparison drawn of the fœtus and the chick. Of the fixed limits of gestation in all animals.
Sec. XXI. Of labour and delivery; progress of, and results.
Sec. XXII. Of twin formations; causes of explained.
[a ]In my inaugural Thesis on Inflammation, 1794, I had occasion to refer to some experiments I had made on the subject of the air which is always found in the larger end of the egg, and which I found to consist principally of oxygen in the early stage of incubation, and, gradually deteriorating, containing more or less of carbonic acid gas, as the incubation proceeded;—from which I was led to infer the analogy of this process to respiration in the living subject. If I do not mistake, views of a like nature had presented themselves to the writer of this treatise; but the importance of vital air to the chick in ovo, cut off from all maternal connexion, must be admitted, in order to perfect sanguification and circulation, whilst enclosed in its calcareous envelope, even if we cannot fully comprehend the process pursued by nature, to accomplish the wonderful end she proposed to effect.—Ed.