The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher

Page 27 of 76

If two infants are joined together by the body, as sometimes it monstrously falls out, then, though the head should come foremost, yet it is proper, if possible, to turn them and draw them forth by the feet, observing, when they come to the hips, to draw them out as soon as may be. And here great care ought to be used in anointing and widening the passage. But these sort of births rarely happening, I need to say the less of them, and, therefore, shall show how women should be ordered after delivery.


How child-bearing Women ought to be ordered after Delivery.

If a woman has had very hard labour, it is necessary that she should be wrapped up in a sheep's skin, taken off before it is cold, applying the fleshy side to her veins and belly, or, for want of this, the skin of a hare or coney, flayed off as soon as killed, may be applied to the same parts, and in so doing, a dilation being made in the birth, and the melancholy blood being expelled in these parts, continue these for an hour or two.

Let the woman afterwards be swathed with fine linen cloth, about a quarter of a yard in breadth, chafing the belly before it is swathed, with oil of St. John's wort; after that raise up the matrix with a linen cloth, many times folded: then with a linen pillar or quilt, cover the flanks, and place the swathe somewhat above the haunches, winding it pretty stiff, applying at the same time a linen cloth to her nipples; do not immediately use the remedies to keep back the milk, by reason the body, at such a time, is out of frame; for there is neither vein nor artery which does not strongly beat; and remedies to drive back the milk, being of a dissolving nature, it is improper to apply them to the breasts during such disorder, lest by doing so, evil humours be contracted in the breast. Wherefore, twelve hours at least ought to be allowed for the circulation and settlement of the blood, and what was cast on the lungs by the vehement agitation during labour, to retire to its proper receptacles.

Some time after delivery, you may take a restrictive of the yolks of two eggs, and a quarter of a pint of white wine, oil of St. John's wort, oil of roses, plantain and roses water, of each an ounce, mix them together, fold a linen cloth and apply it to the breast, and the pains of those parts will be greatly eased.

She must by no means sleep directly after delivery; but about four hours after, she may take broth, caudle or such liquid victuals as are nourishing; and if she be disposed to sleep it may be very safely permitted. And this is as much, in the case of a natural birth, as ought immediately to be done.

But in case of an extremity or an unnatural birth, the following rules ought to be observed:—

In the first place, let the-woman keep a temperate diet, by no means overcharging herself after such an extraordinary evacuation, not being ruled by giving credit to unskilful nurses, who admonish them to feed heartily, the better to repair the loss of blood. For that blood is not for the most part pure, but such as has been retained in the vessels or membrane better voided, for the health of the woman, than kept, unless there happen an extraordinary flux of the blood. For if her nourishment be too much, which curding, very often turns to imposthumes.

Therefore, it is requisite, for the first five days especially, that she take moderately panado broth, poached eggs, jelly of chickens or calves' feet or fresh barley broth; every day increasing the quantity a little.

And if she intend to be a nurse to the child, she may take something more than ordinary, to increase the milk by degrees, which must be of no continuance, but drawn off by the child or otherwise. In this case likewise, observe to let her have coriander or fennel seeds boiled in barley broth; but by all means, for the time specified, let her abstain from meat. If no fever trouble her, she may drink now and then a small quantity of pure white wine or of claret, as also syrup of maidenhead or any other syrup that is of an astringent quality, taken in a little water well boiled.

After the fear of fever or contraction of humour in the breast is over, she may be nourished more plentifully with the broth of capons, pullets, pigeons, mutton, veal, etc., which must not be until after eight days from the time of delivery; at which time the womb, unless some accident binds, has purged itself. It will then likewise be expedient to give cold meats, but let it be sparingly, so that she may the better gather strength. And let her, during the time, rest quietly and free from disturbance, not sleeping in the day time, if she can avoid it.

Take of both mallows and pellitory of the wall a handful; camomile and melilot flowers, of each a handful; aniseed and fennel of each two ounces; boil them in a decoction of sheep's head and take of this three quarts, dissolving in it common honey, coarse sugar and fresh butter and administer it clysterwise; but if it does not penetrate well take an ounce of catholicon.


Acute Pains after Delivery.

These pains frequently afflict the woman no less than the pain of her labour, and are, by the more ignorant, many times taken the one for the other; and sometimes they happen both at the same instant; which is occasioned by a raw, crude and watery matter in the stomach, contracted through ill digestion; and while such pains continue, the woman's travail is retarded.

Therefore, to expel fits of the cholic, take two ounces of oil of sweet almonds, and an ounce of cinnamon water, with three or four drops of syrup of ginger; then let the woman drink it off.

If this does not abate the pain, make a clyster of camomile, balm-leaves, oil of olives and new milk, boiling the former in the latter. Administer it as is usual in such cases. And then, fomentation proper for dispelling the wind will not be amiss.

If the pain produces a griping in the guts after delivery, then take of the root of great comfrey, one drachm, nutmeg and peach kernels, of each two scruples, yellow amber, eight drachms, ambergris, one scruple; bruise them together, and give them to the woman as she is laid down, in two or three spoonfuls of white wine; but if she be feverish, then let it be in as much warm broth.



For the Apoplexy.

Take man's skull prepared, and powder of male peony, of each an ounce and a half, contrayerva, bastard dittany, angelica, zedvary, of each two drachms, mix and make a powder, add thereto two ounces of candied orange and lemon peel, beat all together to a powder, whereof you may take half a drachm or a drachm.

A Powder for the Epilepsy or Falling Sickness.

Take of opopanax, crude antimony, castor, dragon's blood, peony seeds, of each an equal quantity; make a subtle powder; the dose, half a drachm of black cherry water. Before you take it, the stomach must be prepared with some proper vomit, as that of Mynficht's emetic tartar, from four grains to six; if for children, salts of vitrol, from a scruple to half a drachm.

For a Headache of Long Standing.

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