Of Abortion and Untimely Birth.
Why do women that eat unwholesome meats easily miscarry?
Because it breeds putrefied seed in them, which the mind abhorring doth cast it out of the womb, as unfit for the most noble shape which is adapted to receive the soul.
Why doth wrestling or leaping cause the casting of the child as some subtile women used to do on purpose?
The vapour is burning and doth easily hurt the tender substance of the child, entering in at the pores of the matrix. Albertus says, if the child be near delivery, lightning and thunder will kill it.
Why doth thunder and lightning rather cause young women than old to miscarry?
Because the bodies of young women are fuller of pores, and more slender and therefore the lightning sooner enters into their body; but old ones have a thick skin, well compacted, therefore the vapours cannot enter.
Why do much joy cause a woman to miscarry?
Because in the time of joy a woman is destitute of heat, and so the miscarriage doth follow.
Why do women easily miscarry when they are first with child, viz., the first, second, or third month?
As apples and pears easily fall at first, because the knots and ligaments are weak, so it is of a child in the womb.
Why is it hard to miscarry when they are come to the midst of their times, as three, four, five, or six months?
Because then the ligaments are stronger and well fortified.