The Works of Aristotle - HOW WOMEN OUGHT TO GOVERN THEMSELVES DURING THEIR PREGNANCY.

HOW WOMEN OUGHT TO GOVERN THEMSELVES DURING THEIR PREGNANCY.

FIRST, let a woman that is with child choose a temperate air, not infected with fogs, and for that reason not near any marshy grounds, rivers, etc. But this cannot be avoided by some, their habitation falling out to be in such places. But those who can live where they please ought to avoid such places; as likewise the going abroad in too hot or cold weather; also when the south wind blows hard, for that often proves hurtful to women with child, .and sometimes causes abortion.

Secondly, She ought also to be very cautious in the matter of her diet, choosing only those meats that create wholesome nourishment, and such as are moderately dry: and let her take care to prevent and avoid immoderate fasting, for that will weaken the infant, and render it of a sickly constitution, and sometimes causes abortion. And as all excesses are to be avoided, so they must take care not only of immoderate fasting, but likewise immoderate eating too, which will riot only be apt to stuff up the child, but to swell it up to that degree, that it will endanger the life of itse1f and the mother in its birth. Let it suffice that in general she avoid all meats which are too hot, or too cold and moist; such as salads, spices, and hot meats, which often cause the child to be born before its time; and sometimes without nails, which foreshows a short life. And therefore, in this case, the most wholesome meats are pigeons., partridges, pheasants, larks, veal, mutton, or any meat that yields a good juice, and contributes kindly nourishments; as also such fruits as are sweet ad of easy digestion, as cherries, pears, damsons, and the like. But let her avoid, as pernicious, all such things as cause and create wind.

Care ought also to be taken with respect to her exercise, which ought to be moderate; for violent motion, either in walking or working, is hurtful and disturbing to the womb, especially riding upon the stones in a coach, or any other uneven place: and in the like manner all extraordinary sounds and noises should be avoided, especially the ringing of hells, and the discharging of great guns; neither ought she to give way to either immoderate laughing or weeping, or to anger, or any other passion, for that may be prejudicial to her.

 

SECT. II. Further Rules for Women to observe during their Pregnancy.

THOUGH the act of coition is that without which conception cannot be, yet the immoderate use of it hinders the chief end for which it was designed. In the first four months after conception she ought not to lie with her husband, at least sparingly, lest, by shaking the womb in that action, the courses should again be forced down. In the fifth and sixth, months she ought also to abstain; but in the seventh, eighth and ninth, it may freely he permitted, by reason it opens the passage, and facilitates the birth. To contribute the better towards which, the woman should he careful to keep her body soluble; syrups and other opening things being very helpful to nature in those operations. Let her not lace too close, lest the child be thereby hindered from coming to its full growth.

To prevent any disorder that may happen to her breasts by too much blood, which will cause curdled milk, let her wear a necklace of gold about her neck, or rather a small ingot of steel between her breats, fomenting them a quarter of an hour every morning with water distilled from round ivy, periwinkle, and sage, being blood warm.

When her body is swelling, and the motion is great, which will be about the fourth month, she may swathe it with a swatheband anointed with pomatum or any other thing of that kind, to keep it smooth and free from wrinkles. For which end it will be best to take of the caul of a kid, and of a sow, of each three ounces; capon grease and goose grease, of each one ounce and a half; and, having melted them altogether, put thereto a quarter of a pint of water; after which strain them through a linen cloth into fair water, casting it to and fro therein till it be white; at which time add to it the marrow of a red deer one ounce, and lay it in red rose water twelve hours. After the expiration of which you may use it, anointing the swathe and belly.

But if these ingredients are not easy to be had, you may make use of the following liniment, which will do almost as well as the other; take of mutton suet (that which grows above the kidneys is best) and of dog's grease, of each two ounces, whale oil one ounce, and oil of sweet almonds the same quantity; wash them well, after they are melted together in the water of germander, or new white wine, and anoint the belly and swathe therewith. Those that care not to anoint their bellies may make use of the following bath or decoction: take of all sorts of mallow, and of motherwort, each two handfuls; white lily roots three ounces; meliot and camomile, of each two handfuls; lime seeds, quince seeds, and fenugreek seeds, three ounces; boil them well in spring water, and bathe therewith. If the woman, after her quickening, finds but little motion of the infant in her womb, let her make a quilt in the manner following, and bind it upon the navel, and it will much strengthen and comfort the infant: take the powder of roses, red coral, and jelly-flowers, of each two ounces; mastich a dram; angelica seeds two drams; ambergrease two grains; and musk two grains; all which being well beaten, put them into a linen bag, spread them abroad, and quilt it, that they may be in every part of it, placing it upon the navel, and it will have the desired effect. These things are sufficient to be observed during the time of pregnancy, that neither child nor mother may miscarry, but be brought to the birth at the appointed time.

 

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