Complete Practice

πv1 π2r

Complete Practice

Consisting of
Upwards of Forty Cases or
Observations in that valuable
Art, selected from many Others, in
the Course of a very Extensive

And Interspersed
With many necessary Cautions and
useful Instructions, proper to be
observed in the most Dangerous and Critical
Exigencies, as well when the Delivery is
difficult in its own Nature, as when it becomes
so by the Rashness or Ignorance of Unexperienc’d

Recommended to
All Female Practitioners in an
Art so important to the Lives and Well-Being
of the Sex.

By Sarah Stone,
of Piccadilly.

Printed for T. Cooper, at the Globe in PaterNoster

π2v A1r
Small block illustration of a lady seated next to well on the left side of the image; in the background is a city, and on the right side of the image a fisherman seated on the bank of a river.

To the
Most Excellent Majesty.


Forgive my
presuming to approach
the following Sheets; a liberty
I should not dare to take
with the greatest of Queens,
was I not at the same time
encouraged by that Universal
Benevolence, which stiles You A the A1v vi
the Nursing-mother of a most
happy people.

Your Majesty’s tender
regard to our Sex’s modesty,
makes a Treatise of Midwifery
implore Your Royal Protection;
the practice of which is
generally so little understood
by Women Midwives, especially
in the Country: where
tho’ the Women are commonly
more robust, and pure Nature
in great measure assists, the
least difficulty has frequently
baffled the Midwife’s judgment,
and she often forced to
send for a Man; when the
Labour has been no more
than a common Case, as a
Child’s pitching wrong, &c. And A1v vii
And there’s another misfortune,
that ’tis rare to find in
the Country, Gentlemen that
are grave and old experienc’d
Practicioners; which forces
our Sex to submit to every
boyish Pretender; by which
our modesty is exposed, and
the Midwife’s reputation hurt:
to prevent which (as far as in
my power) I resolv’d to publish
some Observations in my
Practice; in hopes they’ll
prove instructive to some Women
Midwives, especially those
of the lower class. And in
this undertaking, to whom
can I fly for Protection, but
to Your Majesty, the
Fountain of all perfect Virtue,A2 tue, A2v viii
and the generous Encourager
of all Arts and Sciences.

I will not venture to touch
on Your Majesty’s Excellencies;
that many learned
pens have tried, and all fell
infinitely short of: and therefore
must unwillingly be
silent where I ought to express
most; and, imploring Your
Royal Protection
and Forgiveness, beg leave to
subscribe myself,

Your Majesty’s
Most Obedient, and most
Humbly Devoted Servant,

Sarah Stone.

Decorative emblem bordered by flowers. To the left sits an angel or cherubic figure with a dove in its right hand. To the right sits another angel with an eagle or hawk in its left hand. Between them sits an unidentified open book and an urn filled with more flowers.

to the

The Occasion of my
publishing this small
Treatise is, in hopes
it may prove instructive
to some Women Professors
in the Art of Midwifery; and
inform them in a right, safe,
and just practice of that Art:
that they may be able to deliver
in difficult Labours, as well
as those that are not so. For I cannot A3v x
cannot comprehend, why Women
are not capable of compleating
this business when begun,
without calling in of Men
to their assistance, who are often
sent for, when the Work is
near finish’d; and then the Midwife,
who has taken all the pains,
is accounted of little value, and
the young men command all the
praise. Which unskilful practices
of Women-Midwives being
often repeated, give occasion for
Pregnant Women to bespeak
them, so that it is become quite
a fashion; especially with the
Bristol Ladies.

I am well assured, unless the
Women-Midwives give themselves
more to the Study of this
Art, and learn the difficult
part of their business, that the
Modesty of our Sex will be in
great danger of being lost, for want A4r xi
want of good Women-Midwives,
by being so much exposed to
the Men professing this Art: for
’tis arrived to that height already,
that almost every young
Man, who hath served his Apprenticeship
to a Barber-Surgeon,
imnmediately sets up for
a Man-Midwife; altho’ as ignorant,
and, indeed, much ignoranter,
than the meanest Woman
of the Profession.

But these young Gentlemen‑
Professors put on a finish’d assurance,
with pretence that their
Knowledge exceeds any Woman’s,
because they have seen,
or gone thro’, a Course of Anatomy:
and so, if the Mother,
or Child, or both die, as it often
happens, then they die Secundum
; for a Man was
there, and the Woman-Midwife
bears all the blame. Then it is, that A4v xii
that our young and well-assur’d
pretenders boast, had they been
there soon, neither should have
died. Tho’ I have made it my
Observation within these few
years, That more Women and
Children have died by the hands
of such Professors, than by the
greatest imbecillity and ignorance
of some Women-Midwives,
who never went thro’, or so much
as heard of, a Course of Anatomy.
For, give me leave to tell those
young Gentlemen pretenders,
who undertake the Practice of
Midwifery with only the knowledge
of dissecting the Dead,
that all the Living who have or
shall come under their care, in
any difficulty, have and may severely
pay for what knowledge
they attain to in the Art of Midwifery;
especially such young
ones as now pretend to practise: by a1r xiii
by whom (I am well assured)
there are many sufferers both
Mothers and Children; yea, Infants
have been born alive, with
their Brains working out of their
Heads: occasion’d by the too
common use of Instruments:
which I never found but very
little use to be made of, in
all my practice. I have had
the opportunity of going thro’
a great number of difficult Labours,
living in and near Taunton,
a place where there was no
Man-Midwife, and a town wholly
depending on the Woollen
Manufactory, the Combing and
Weaving Part, which many Women
are bred to there; and, I
believe, has been the occasion
of many Wrong Births and Bad
Labours, which I was obliged
to be at, among the poorer sort
of Women. And as I never a found a1v xiv
found Instruments requisite above
four times in my life; so
I am certain, where twenty Women
are deliver’d with Instruments
(which is now become a
common practice) that nineteen
of them might be deliver’d without,
if not the twentieth, as
will appear in my Observations.
Wherefore it is my intention
(with God’s assistance) to instruct
my Sisters of the Profession; that
it may be in their power to deliver
all manner of Births, with
more ease and safety, than has
hithero been practis’d by many
of them, and without exposing
the Lives of their Women and
Children to every boyish Pretender.
For dissecting the Dead,
and being just and tender to the
Living, are vastly different; for
it must be supposed that there
is a tender regard one Woman bears a2r xv
bears to another, and a natural
Sympathy in those that have
gone thro’ the Pangs of Childbearing;
which, doubtless, occasion
a compassion for those that
labour under those circumstances,
which no man can be a judge

I have seen several Women
open’d; and ’tis not improper
for all of the Profession to see
Dissections, and read Anatomy,
as I have done. But had I inspected
into them all my life,
and not been instructed in Midwifery
by my Mother, and Deputy
to her full six years, it
would have signified but little;
nor should I have dared to have
undertaken such a Profession,
lest any Life should have been
lost thro’ my ignorance; which
I am well assured, thro’ the
blessing of God, has never happened.a2 pened. a2v xvi
I am not in the least
condemning just Practitioners,
men of erudition, grave and
sedate, and whose judgments are
unquestionable: they, without
doubt, are justly to be esteem’d.
But my whole design in this
small piece is to be plain in my
instructions, that Midwives of
the lowest capacity may be
able to Deliver their Women,
without calling in, or sending
for, a Man, in every little seeming
difficulty; but if they have
not strength, which I take to
be the occasion of requiring
their assistance in some circumstances;
I would advise the
Midwives of Bristol, to take
special care to send for a just
Practitioner; and, if possible,
one without partiality: who
values a Mother’s and Child’s
Life, and the Midwife’s Reputation,tation, a3r xvii
more than his own sinister

In my humble opinion, it is
necessary that Midwives should
employ three years at least, with
some ingenious woman practising
this Art. For if seven years
must be served to learn a Trade,
I think three years as little as
possible to be instructed in an
Art where Life depends.

I believe I shall make it appear,
that a great part of the
Miscarriage of many Midwives,
occasioning the sufferings of several
Mothers and Children, is
for want of knowledge when to
assist a Woman, and when to
omit it. I have often been call’d
to the assistance of many Midwives,
and have found Mothers
and Children in the utmost danger;
which has been by begininging a3v xviii
their work before its due
time; they imagining every
uncertain Pain a Woman hath,
to be her Labour: which Pains
are common, and attend many
Women a Month or Six Weeks
before their Time of Delivery
(which I have found by experience.)

I shall not fill any part of this
book, with needless discourses
on the Parts of Generation, nor
the Reasons of Conception;
neither shall I concern myself,
or give my opinion, why some
Women do not conceive; many
Authors being copious on such
Subjects. For my part, I think
all the Disorders of Teeming
Women do not belong to Midwives;
but they ought to commit
themselves to the Care of
a Physician; a Midwife’s busi ness a4r xix
ness being only to be well instructed
in her Profession: then
with a good Resolution, and
the Blessing of God, she needs
not fear going thro’ the most
difficult part of her business,
with as good success as I have
done these five and thirty years.
For I am well assured, that
abundance of hard Labours are
owing to the want of good judgment
in the first beginnings of

Excuse me if I have been
guilty of Prolixity, Tautology,
or Circumlocution; my design
in this Treatise being to instruct
the meanest capacity, and not
to meddle with those of Erudition,
&c. I heartily wish what
I have wrote may be of service
to my Sisters Professors in the
Art of Midwifery: and that the a4v xx
the Omnipotent, Omniscient,
and Omnipresent God, may
grant you All Success, is the
hearty and sincere Prayer, of

Your True and Faithful
Friend and Servant,

Sarah Stone.

The following Letter being from
a Gentleman justly celebrated
in his Profession, I shall take
the liberty to prefix it to this
Work; and hope for the Author’s
excuse as well as that
of the Publick, for so doing:
the Motive for it being far
from That of Vanity or Conceit;
tho’, I think, any Person
may take an honest Pride
in the Approbation of the

A Copy of a Letter from Dr.
of Bridgewater, to
Mr. Stone.

“Sir, I Received Your’s of the ---1818th,
by which I find You and Mrs.
are removed from Bristol, b and b1v xxii
and are settled in London; which
I very heartily wish may be greatly
to your Advantage. Sure I
am, if Knowledge and Skill in
Your Professions; Honesty, Industry,
and Care, will procure
You Business, You will not want
for a Recommendation to as many
as shall be so happy as to have
any Knowledge of You. You know
the only Objection I had to Your
leaving Bristol for London, was
my Fear how You would be able
to get an Acquaintance in London,
at Your Time of Life; but
I hope, That by Your own and
Mrs. Stone’s Qualifications above
mentioned, You will be able to
surmount your Difficulty. We
have three or four Midwives in
this Town at present, but they
bear very poor Characters. The
Place was much happier in that
respect when Mrs. Stone began her b2r xxiii
her Practice here. I remember she
exercis’d her Art, tho’ then very
young, with great Applause and
Success, having been taught her
Skill by the famous Mrs. Holmes
her Mother, the best Midwife
that ever I knew. The great and
populous Town of Taunton enlarged
her Experience, and
Bristol perfected and fitted her
for the Metropolis, London;
where, I hope, she will reap a
very plentiful Harvest, answerable
to her true Merit.
You acquaint me that she is
going to publish some Observations
of her own, in the Art of
Midwifery: She was so kind
some Time since to shew me, in
MSS. a few of those Cases; and
indeed some of them were very
curious and instructive. I wish
it may gain her great Credit and
Reputation. I shall be glad to have b2v xxiv
have the Pleasure of seeing it
when it comes abroad, and shall
truly rejoice to hear of both Your
Success and Prosperity in all
Your Affairs; and, according to
the Compliment of the Season,
wish You a happy New Year, and
very many of them; who am,
Your Affectionate Friend
and Servant,
John Allen.”
A B1r
Decorative emblem bordered by flowers. To the left sits an angel or cherubic figure with a dove in its right hand. To the right sits another angel with an eagle or hawk in its left hand. Between them sits an unidentified open book and an urn filled with more flowers. Same as figure on page ix.

A Complete

Observation I.

The Delivery of a Woman,
her Child being lodg’d on
the Share-Bone.

At Bridgewater, Somersetshire,
17031703. I
was sent for to Huntspill,
to a Farmer’s
wife, who had been
in Labour three days: her Pains
were declining, and she reduced B to B1v 2
to the utmost degree of Weakness;
not having been in Bed
all that time, (which is the common,
but very bad, practice of
the Country Midwives.) When
I came, I found her Spirits quite
exhausted; and her Midwife,
being also fatigued, was in a
sound sleep. I laid the Woman
on the Bed, and by Touching
her, found the Child lay on the
Os Pubis (or Share-Bone.) The
Waters being gone, made the
remaining part of her Labour
the more difficult: however, relieving
her Child from the Os
, I deliver’d her of a Daughter
alive, and that in the space
of three hours; to the grand
surprize of her Midwife, when
awake, who seem’d glad the
Child was born alive, she believing
it dead the day before.

Obser- B2r 3

Observation II.

The Delivery of a Woman,
being four days in Labour,
and her Child very much

Iwas sent for to Bromfield,
to a Farmer’s wife, who was
one of my mother’s Women;
and my mother being then dead
about three months, she had
spoke to me: but some of her
friends prevailed with her to
have another Midwife. The
reason was, I was then thought
too young, and that an elderly
woman would do better. But
when I came, I found the woman
bolster’d upright, breatheingB2 ing B2v 4
very short, her Nostrils
working, and her Pulse very
quick and irregular, as tho’ Life
was departing.

I ask’d the Midwife, How long
she had been in that manner?
she told me from Thursday, and
this was on the Monday morning
following. The Woman
said she had not felt the Child
from Friday; and, probably, it
might be dead longer, by the
putrefaction of the child. I
could not help letting the Midwife,
and women that were with
her, know, That her life was
in the utmost danger, proper
assistance having been too long
neglected; and it was my opiinion,
she could not long survive.
They desir’d me to deliver her,
which, thanks to the Omnipotent,
I did, in thirty minutes,
tho’ with great difficult; by reason B3r 5
reason the child was so putrefied;
notwithstanding which the Woman
did well.

Observation III.

The Delivery of a Woman in
a violent Flooding, and her
Child dead.

Iwas soon after sent for to
Petherton, two miles from
Bridgewater, to a Taylor’s wife.
When I came to her she was lying
on the bed speechless; for
she had flooded in so violent a
manner, that she never stain’d
a Cloth at, or after, her Delivery.
When I had stated her
dangerous Case, I Touch’d her:
the Secundine, I found, presented
first; but Searching further, found B3v 6
found the Waters not gone;
wherefore having two beds in
one room, I order’d the other
to be ready to receive her so
breaking the Waters, the Child’s
head presented: but she being
faint by the prodigious loss of
blood, I examin’d for the Feet;
which in searching for, I found
the Navel-string without the
least Pulsation; a plain demonstration
the Child was dead.
However, I found the Feet with
less Difficulty than I sometimes
have, and deliver’d her in less
than fifteen minutes of a large
boy, who, by all circumstances,
had been dead about eight hours;
which, no doubt, happen’d thro’
her great loss of blood. As soon
as I had deliver’d her of the
Child and After-Birth (assisted
by the Women) we laid her in
the other bed. ’Twas a full hour B4r 7
hour before she spoke; when
she recover’d her spirits she declar’d,
she remember’d not any
thing of her being deliver’d.
She lived and did well: for riding
that way about five weeks
after, I called to see her, and
found her out of danger, but
weak, and her Legs inclin’d to
swell, which is common in such
cases: but this was soon removed,
by taking a few doses of
proper Physick, when capable
of receiving it. ’Twas 5 months
before she recover’d strength
enough to stir abroad; tho’ had
her Midwife had judgment to
have deliver’d her, as soon as she
fell into such Floodings, the
Child’s life might have been
saved, and the mother preserved
from extreme danger; besides
the expences that such
weak Lyings-in occasion, which are B8v 8
are very chargeable to poor

Observation IV.

The Delivery of a Woman,
her Child being fixed on the
Os Pubis, or Share-bone.

In a short time after I was
sent for to Bromfield, to a
Farmer’s wife, who had been in
Labour about eight and forty
hours, her Midwife being all
the time with her. She was a
woman of very low spirits; her
Pains were short, by reason the
Child’s head fix’d on the Os
(or Share-bone.) I have
observed, in all such Labours,
the Pains are very short, and
extreme sharp: The reason is, the C1r 9
the Pains force the Child’s head
on the Os Pubis, which proves
injurious both to Mother and
Child. The practice of Midwives,
in general, in this case,
is to press hard on the back
part of the body; when, indeed,
they have not the least occasion
to press any where; but to pass
by, or thro’ the Vagina, and
gently feel for the Entrance or
Mouth of the Womb; and if it
be in a wrong situation, to place
it right, or dilate it, as there
is occasion: which I shall shew
as my Observations give me
leave. In this case, I examined
the Matrix, and found the Inner
Orifice lay very high to her
Back, and open enough to admit
of my Fore-finger, which
I soon dilated to the admittance
of my next finger, and with
them both gently drew the MatrixC trix C1v 10
(or Womb) towards the
Os Pubis (or Share-bone;) and
as I dilated with my two fingers,
at the same time, I relieved and
kept back the Child’s head from
the Os Pubis. Which practice
I have always found successful:
for by such proceeding the Child
is retarded (or kept back,) the
Pains strengthened, and the Labour
happily finish’d in a little
time; as it hath happened to
me innumerable times, in such
Labours. I deliver’d this Woman
in two hours, as I assured
her she would be, when I first
came to her: she seem’d not to
credit me, but found it truth.
I have attended the same Woman
divers times; all her Labours
are near the same, yet she
and the Children do well, and
hath tolerable Lyings-in.

Obser- C2r 11

Observation V.

The Delivery of a Woman
whose Life was despaired
of, her Child lying so long
on the Os Pubis.

Iwas sent for to North-curry,
to a Shoemaker’s wife;
I found her in a very deplorable
condition, and by all her friends
given to Death; for they told
me, That the Shoemaker’s former
wife was in the very same
case as this, and she died undeliver’d;
and they were sure this
Woman would also. The poor
Woman sitting up in a chair,
with the symptoms of Death in
her face, and all spectators pronouncingC2 nouncing C2v 12
Death against her, I
Touch’d her, and assur’d them
all, that, with God’s assistance,
I did not doubt of delivering
her in two hours; which I accordingly
did: both Mother and
Child did well. I have deliver’d
her of several Children since,
and she is yet alive. I could not
help smiling, to hear how the
womens sentiments alter’d; for
they were positive in their opinions,
That had I been with the
first wife, she had not died. This
Woman’s Case was much like the
Woman’s in the fourth Observation.
The Matrix was open,
and the Midwife had taken great
pains to deliver this poor Woman:
but instead of relieving
the Child off the Os Pubis, she
work’d on the Back; a practice
too much approv’d of by most
authors. My principal aim in this, C3r 13
this, is to inform my sisters in
the Profession, That if they
know how to relieve the Child
from the Os Pubis, they need not
fear; the Back-part will soon
yield full fast enough for any
Woman to bear: I always found
it so; and have been oblig’d to
support the Back-part with my
hands, to prevent its being injured.

Obser- C3v 14

Observation VI.

The Delivery of a Woman,
in the uttermost danger of
Life, by the After-Burthen
being left behind eight days.

Iwas sent for to a Tucker’s
wife in Taunton, in High‑
. She was taken with a
Convulsion Fit, was two and
twenty weeks gone with Child,
and in the Fit the Child came
from her; her Midwife, who
liv’d the next door, was instantly
call’d to her assistance, but
could not bring the Secundine
(or After-Birth) away. The poor
Woman lay in an extreme weak
condition, with continual Floodings;ings; C4r 15
a Physician attended her,
and order’d her Medicines to
stop them. As soon as he was
gone, her Midwives (for then
she had three with her) consulted,
and agreed to boil Herbs,
and give her, to force the Secundine
(or After-Birth) away.
But soon after, she being to all
human reason expiring, the Physician
was sent for again, to stop
her Floodings; and in that deplorable
condition she lay eight
days, when I was sent for. I
Touch’d her, and found the
Mouth of the Matrix open,
about the breadth of a Shilling.
I introduc’d my fore-finger, and
then the second; and with great
difficulty I brought off the After‑
Birth in divers pieces, very rotten
and offensive. I was obliged
gently to press my left hand on
her Belly, to keep the Matrix steddy C4v 16
steddy, or else it could not have
been done. The Woman recover’d,
and liv’d many years,
and had one Child after; contrary
to the opinion of her Midwives,
they thinking it impossible
for her to recover. The
Physician met me the next
morning at her house, and gave
me thanks for the service I had
done his Patient. He said, ’twas
always his opinion it must be
brought off; but her Midwives
said it could not be done. It
was near five months before
she recover’d strength to go

Obser- D1r 17

Observation VII.

The Delivery of two Women,
their Children having a
Dropsy in their Heads.

At Taunton I attended an
Inn-keeper’s Wife. She
was taken in Labour on a Thursday,
and sent for her Midwife,
who gave her hopes of a speedy
Delivery. About midnight the
Waters broke, and Pains a little
abated, till Friday evening, and
then her Pangs return’d very
violent. She remain’d in that
extremity till I was sent for,
which was on Sunday evening:
I found her more likely to die
than to live, which made me D unwilling D1v 18
unwilling to undertake her Delivery;
but she desired me, for
God’s sake, to do it, if she died
the next moment. Her inconsoleable
case oblig’d me to undertake
her Delivery. In Touching
her, I found the Child came
with the Breech foremost, and
both Feet lay across the Neck:
whereupon, exerting my utmost
strength, I brought the Feet to
the Knees; and, with the assistance
of a woman, extracted
the Child to the Neck: but
finding the Head stick, I search’d,
and found the Head very large,
and protuberant with water;
the Coronal Sutures being separated
at least two inches from
each other, occasioned by the
large quantity of water contain’d
in the Child’s Head. I
made an Incision between the
Sutures; the water flow’d freely:ly: D2r 19
I then had but little difficulty
to bring the Head, and
soon after brought away the Secundine
(or After-Birth.) It was
very black; owing, I believe, to
a Mortification she had in her
Belly; of which she died the
third day after Delivery. When
dead, I perceived her Belly
to be as green as grass, being
mortified. It proceeded, as I
conceive, from a great pressure
often repeated, by the Women,
in keeping her Belly down, according
to her Midwife’s directions.
The reason she gave me
for it was, That all the Woman’s
Pains, instead of Bearing down,
every Pain rose up the Child,
and straiten’d her Belly, round
her Navel, as tho’ it would have
broke thro’. I laid my hand on
her Belly, and it seem’d to me,
that all the substance between D2 the D2v 20
the Child’s Head and my hand,
was not thicker than fine paper.
The Woman told me, That after
her Waters were gone, she
never had one Pain like those
she used to have of her former
Children; she having had seven
before. I easily perceiv’d the
reason, when I found the Child’s
Head erected as high as possible;
for ’tis common for Children,
whilst alive, to make the strongesst
efforts to be born the way
the Head lies: but after this
Child was dead, the largeness of
the Head hindered the Pangs
being successful, but, on the
contrary, became very injurious.
I put a Tunnel in the Child’s
Head, where I made the Puncture,
and pour’d in five full
pints of water
, and judg’d it
would have held half a pint
more , which made the Head prodigiously D3r 21
prodigiously large, and impossible
to be born of any woman
in the world. And for want of
this Woman’s being deliver’d,
when her Waters broke, she lost
her life: which is very plain;
for a Smith’s wife, a near neighbour,
and intimate acquaintance
of her’s, was at that time about
twelve weeks gone with Child,
She was often with the Woman,
and saw the Child; which was
a great imbecility in her, and
so it is with any Woman that is
pregnant, to see any thing that
may affect their Infants, as this
did: for two months before her
Time was expired, she sent for
me, and desir’d my assistance
whenever her Labour came on,
she telling me, she was positive
her Child would be the same as
her deceased friend’s. She told
me she was in the same way as D3v 22
as her friend; she had heard
her complain often, whilst with
Child: and, indeed, it proved
too true. For when I was sent
for to her, I found her Labour,
and the Situation of the Child,
and the Dropsical Head, with
every particular, as the Innholder’s
wife. As soon as the
Waters broke, I search’d for the
Feet, so brought the Child’s
Body; but was oblig’d to make
an Incision in the Head, as in
the former Child. Her whole
time of Delivery exceeded not
an hour; the Child’s Head contained
near the same quantity of
Water as t’other Child. She
did very well, and had several
Children after: which is a plain
demonstration, if the other woman
had been deliver’d as soon
as her Waters broke, (the only
time to deliver all Wrong Births) she D4r 23
she might have lived; for their
Labours begun equal, the Children
exact alike; the bulk of
the Head, and the distance of
the Sutures, as tho’ it had been
the first Child born twice. I
hope it will be a warning to all
Breeding Women, that may read
or know it, not to be at Difficult
or Uncommon Labours.

Observation VIII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
who was likely to be ruined
thro’ the ignorance of her

Afew days after I was
sent for, by St. Mary
’s Church, to a Woman who D4v 24
who had been in Labour two
days and three nights. The
Midwife that was with her told
her friends, she believ’d she could
not be Deliver’d. They hearing
I was near (for I was attending
on a Gentlewoman who was near
her Time) sent for me. When
I came, I found the Woman extremely
fatigued, in a violent
Transudation, that even her
gown was wet with Sweat: I
never saw a Woman in greater
extremity. I Touch’d her, and
found the Child lay right, but
over the Os Pubis. I was surpriz’d
in Touching her, to find
her Fundament spread broader
than the palm of my hand. I
ask’d the Midwife what she had
been doing: she told me that in
opening the outer gate, (as she
call’d it) was the way, said she,
to help the inner. I was astonish’dnish’d E1r 25
at her ignorance; but
have found since that it is too
common a practice, even among
the Men (but not the judicious)
as well as Women Midwives, to
work on the Back-part, which
they have no business to meddle
with; unless it be to support
it from the injury ’tis often
in danger of. I immediately
endeavour’d to deliver her, by
passing my two fore-fingers between
the Os Pubis and the
Child’s Head. I soon reliev’d it,
and in one hour and a quarter
I deliver’d her of a lusty Boy.
Both Mother and Child did well.
’Tis my Opinion, had I not assisted
this Woman, she must soon
have been ruin’d, if not lost her

E Obser- E1v 26

Observation IX.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Child’s Arm being
without the Birth four

In Bridgewater I was sent
for to a street below Huntspill,
to a Farmer’s wife, who
had been in Labour four days.
Her Midwife told me, That her
Waters had broke, and the Child’s
Arm presented on Thursday
night, and then her Pangs left
her: which is very common in
all Wrong Births. They sent
for me on Sunday morning. I
ask’d the Midwife, Why she had
not help sooner? She reply’d, She E2r 27
She waited for Pains. I then
inform’d her, That in all Wrong
Births Pains were of no Use,
but, on the contrary, pernicious.
The poor Woman had been so
ill used, that it was some time
before I could persuade her to
suffer me to Touch her, saying
she chose to die, rather than go
through any more Pain in that
manner. I assurd her, with the
Omnipotent’s leave, I would deliver
her in less than half an
hour. She then consented I
should try. I laid her a-cross
the Bed, on her Knees, with a
bolster and pillow under her
Stomach, that her Belly might
lie hollow; which I have found,
in general, to be the easiest and
best way, giving liberty for
turning a Child. I Touch’d her,
and found the Child’s Arm hal’d
out, as far as the Shoulder, and E2 broke E2v 28
broke in two places. I slid my
hand gently along the Child’s
Arm and Ribs, with some difficulty,
so advanced further, till
I found one Foot, and drew it
towards me; the other soon
follow’d. I wrap’d them in linnen,
for the better hold, and
deliver’d her, altho’ the Child
was much swell’d. I suppose
the Infant had been dead from
the Friday before. In her Delivery
she never complain’d once
of any Pain. I ask’d her, How
she could bear the turning of
her Child, and Delivery without
complaining? She told me, She
had endur’d a thousand times
more Pain by the hands of her
Midwife; and some Handy Women
(as they call them) which
were about her, told her, That
send for whom she wou’d, she
could never be deliver’d; but they E3r 29
they were soon convinced of
their absurdity and brutish dealing
with the poor Sufferer; for
she was deliver’d, and laid in
her Bed in a comfortable manner,
in less than half an hour,
to their great surprize. She
had a good Lying-in, and was
abroad in three Weeks.

Observation X.

The Delivery of a Woman,
whose Child had been dead
four Months, and not Putrified.

In Taunton, a Smith’s wife,
being a Washer-woman, desired
my assistance when she
should want it. She told me
She had not felt the Child, since she E3v 30
she quicken’d, for a month. For
hanging some cloaths on a line
to dry, it being out of her reach,
she felt a prodigious Motion of
her Child, and never felt it afterwards.
Her Reckoning being
almost out, she desir’d my
assistance; (If she was with Child?)
I told her, I did not doubt but
she was; but ’twas my opinion
the Child was dead from that
time. She shew’d me her Breasts,
which were as full of Milk, as if
she had been a Nurse. She was
obliged to milk them twice a
day; and never milk’d less than
half a pint a day, out of each
at a time.

She went a Month beyond
her Reckoning, and then she
had several Pains. That day
she sent for me in the evening:
I Touch’d her, and found her
Water sunk without the Neck of E4r 31
of the Womb: the skin that retain’d
it was so very thin, that
with the least touch it broke. I
received some of the Water in
my hand, found it very clear,
and without the least putrid
smell; which I wonder’d at: it
being usual when a Child is
dead to be offensive. Her Pains
being trifling, and the Matrix
lying high, and out of my power
to reach, I order’d her to Bed,
and to continue there till her
Pains grew stronger: which being
done, about four in the
morning, she sent for me. I
then found her in stronger Pains;
she said they were not like the
Bearing Pains she used to have
with her former Children. I
found the Child presented with
its Breech foremost, and brought
it off in a little time: but the
Burden adher’d so close to the Matrix, E4v 32
Matrix, I was obliged to peel it
off, in the manner you would
the rind from a young tree.
And, what is worth observation,
the Burden was at least two
inches thick, but full as pale as
the Lungs of any animal. ’Tis,
therefore, plain, that altho’ the
Child was dead, yet that grew
more than in a living Child.
The Woman did exceeding well,
and was capable of washing in
three weeks after. When the
Child was born, the Navel-string
was seven times round the Neck:
which palpably shews, as the
Mother was throwing a sheet
over a line, the sudden jerk occasion’d
the Child’s being strangled
with the Navel-string, the
Child being whole and entire,
without the least Putrefaction;
notwithstanding it had been dead
at least four months: an instance I F1r 33
I never met with in all my
Practice. I wish this may be a
warning to all Women with
Child, to take care not to overreach
themselves; that being
often the loss of many Infants,
as well as Mothers.

Observation XI.

The Delivery of a Woman
with the Child’s Shoulder

Iwas sent for in Taunton,
to a Cobler’s wife, who had
been some time in Labour. Her
Midwife told me her Child was
right, which made her wonder
the Child did not come forward,
with so many strong Pains as F she F1v 34
she had for a Day and Night.
I soon inform’d her ’twas the
Child’s Shoulder, and not the
Head. I endeavour’d to place
the Child right, which I did,
tho’ it soon return’d to the former
Position. I plac’d it right
three times, and still it return’d
again; tho’ some Authors have
advised, when the Child lies not
right, it must be placed so, then
deliver the Woman. But I believe
such Authors wrote, what
they never practised; if they
did, they ought to have inform’d
the Readers how the
Child’s Head should be kept in
the right Position when plac’d,
and how they should procure
Pains to accomplish such a Delivery:
for as soon as I had
placed the Child’s Head right,
all her Pains ceased; which is
common in such Births; and obliged F2r 35
obliged me to search for the
Feet. I brought the Child as
far as the Head; then was forced
to put my two fore-fingers
of my left hand into its Mouth,
and gently press down the Chin
to its breast with my right hand
on the shoulders, and compleated
the Delivery.

The Child when born had not
the least appearance of life in
it; but the Mother did very
well soon.

F2 Ob- F2v 36

Observation XII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
her Child being Dead, and
much Putrified.

Iwas sent for to Pitmister,
to a Woman who had been
in Travail four days, and her
Child dead the greatest part of
the time; for the Skin of it
flay’d off, as I deliver’d her. The
Woman being very low and
weak, I thought it would be
least Pain to her to unbrain the
Child, I being well assured it
was dead, by the black offensive
Water the flow’d from the Matrix.
In such Cases, where
there is a certainty of the Child’s F3r 37
Child’s being dead, and the
Head foremost, it is the easiest
and quickest way of Delivery.
But I think it vile practice to
take such methods whilst the
Child is alive, and a Woman in
full strength; tho’ ’tis not become
too common a practice:
there being many Infants born
crying, with their Brains working
out of their Heads. But how
such Operators can clear themselves
of the blood of the Infants
so destroy’d, I cannot imagine;
nor what their thoughts
may be in such vile performances:
I doubt it will give them
no consoleable reflections on a
dying bed. (This by way of
digression.) Having no incision‑
knife with me, I was obliged to
use a penknife. I secured the
blade with a piece of rag near
the point, and directed that to the F3v 38
the Sutures of the Child’s Head,
guarding the point under the
first joint of my fore-finger, to
prevent injuring the Woman.
I made a large Puncture in the
Head, and then perform’d the
remainder with my fingers, by
taking sevral large pieces of
the Skull and Brains; then
taking hold of the back-part of
the Neck, I deliver’d her in a
little time. The Child was very
much putrified, as was the
Secundine, but the Woman did
well. She had two Midwives
with her, yet did little service
towards her Delivery; which
they told me they wonder’d at.
I made them sensible the difficulty
was occasioned by the
Child’s lying on the Os Pubis;
for, by all circumstances, she
might have been deliver’d, at
least, two days before, had either of F4r 39
of the Midwives understood how
to have proceeded in such a

Observation XIII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
with the Child’s Arm foremost,
and much swelled.

Iwas sent for to a Weaver’s
wife in St. James’s Parish,
a business she was oblig’d to follow
herself, altho’ a work very
injurious to Pregnant Women,
especially short women. I have
been with a great many wrong
and difficult Births, I believe
owing to the Woollen Trade, in
which many women are obliged
to be employ’d, in that town, and F4v 40
and places adjacent, and no Man‑
midwife in the place, nor any
Woman that was capable to go
thro’ the least difficulty; so that
the whole of bad Labours lay
heavy on me: which frequently
happening, render’d it so fatiguing
and pernicious to my
health, as to oblige me to leave
the place; and tho’, thank God,
I have recover’d since, yet I
have been much concern’d to
hear that many Mothers and
Children have lost their lives,
since my departure. One great
reason of my recollecting these
Observations, is, That as I cannot
be serviceable in my person,
I may be doubly so to those
who profess or undertake the
Art of Midwifery; and not to
set down the least practice of
any other persons, but faithfully
to distribute, with the Omnipotent’stent’s G1r 41
leave, my own performances.
When I came to the
aforemention’d Woman, I found
the Arm hal’d out as far as the
Shoulder. I ask’d, What Midwife
had been with her? They
said none; but I assur’d them
’twas false, and insisted on knowinf
who she was. Then they
told me it was the Midwife that
lived by; and when she heard
of my being sent for, she went
home: because I had been often
after her bad works, and could
not help condemning her for
keeping Women long in hand,
as she usually did, not suffering
me to be sent for till the Child
was dead, and the Woman in
great danger. She had been
with this Woman two days and
one Night. I sent for her, to
admonish her not to keep Women
in such dangerous conditions,G tions G1v 42
so long. She refusing to
come, I thought it high time
to deliver the Woman: I then
search’d for the Feet, but found
them very difficult to be come
at, she being a little short Woman,
and a large Child dead;
the Arm and Shoulders much
swell’d, which render’d her Delivery
much more troublesome.
I gently push’d the Child’s Arm
back as far as I could, which
gave me a little room to slide
my hand as far as the Ribs; but
being seiz’d with the Cramp,
oblig’d me to withdraw it: after
rubbing it a little, I enter’d
again, and got hold of one Foot.
The Cramp seizing me a second
time, I was obliged to let go
my hold; but kept my hand
still to ease it, and give the Woman
rest: for, ’tis to be observed,
when the hand is in the body, G2r 43
body, and in motion, it creates
great pain to the Woman. Therefore
they who undertake such
Deliveries, must be endow’d
with great patience, justice, good
judgment, and full resolution,
with God’s blessing, to go thro’
such Deliveries. I drew the
Foot towards me, which gave
room to take hold of the other
Foot. As the Feet advanc’d
the Arm drew back. But after
I had brought the Child as far
as the Knees, I was obliged to
have the assistance of a woman,
and we both us’d all our strength
to bring it to the Shoulders. I
then brought down one Hand
and Arm, for more room, and
left the other, to prevent the
Matrix from contracting round
the Neck, which sometimes happens.
I put two fingers of my
left hand into the Child’s mouth, G2 and G2v 44
and my right hand upon its
shoulders, so happily deliver’d
her. I brought off the Secundine
entirely whole.
And notwithstanding her hard
Labour, she was capable of working
in her Loom a fortnight

Observation XIV.

The Delivery of a Woman
with Twins, the one came
right and the other wrong.

Iwas sent for to a Woman
near St. James’s Church;
she had been in Labour from
Tuesday to Friday. I found her
in a low, weak condition; and,
to the eye of reason, very near
Death. I understood by herselfself G3r 45
and women, That she had
been in strong Labour all that
time, and quite tir’d out. Her
Pulse was very low, her Breath
short, her Nostrils working, so
that I thought her near expireing.
I ask’d her Midwife the
reason, Why she did not deliver
her? She told me, Because God’s
time was not come: (a common
saying amongst illiterate and unskilful
Midwives.) I told her,
’Twas my opinion, when the
signs of Travail appear’d so plain,
and the Matrix open, the Waters
voided, and strong Pangs,
(as had been this Woman’s case,
by her own confession, the Tuesday
night before, and this was
Friday in the afternoon) that it
appear’d to me to be God’s time
then; and, doubtless, a Midwife’s
place to do her duty. The
Midwife told me there was anotherother G3v 46
reason why she had a bad
time, she perceiv’d the Child
had long hair. ’Tis a reason I
have heard often given; but, I
think, shews ignorance in abundance.

I have been frequently surprized
to hear such silly reasons
given, by Women practising
where life is concern’d. I Touch’d
the Woman, and found the Child
fixed on the Os Pubis. I told
the Midwife, I believ’d the Child
had lain where it was, a considerable
time. She said, Indeed she
had not perceiv’d it to move (as
she was pleas’d to term it) the
length of a barley-corn since
Tuesday night. I put the Woman
on a stool, which was the
way she chose; for I think it
best for Midwives to advise their
Women to the safest way of Delivery;
which, in my opinion, none G4r 47
none so good as the Bed: (and
next to that the Stool) yet I
don’t approve of compelling
Women to any particular place
against their inclinations. In
half an hour I releas’d the Child
from the Os Pubis, which increas’d
her Pains, so that in less
than one hour I deliver’d her of
a Boy. It was alive, but very
weak. In searching for the Secundine,
I met with some Membranes
full of Water, which I
broke, and found another Child
coming with its Arm foremost.
I search’d for the Feet, which I
soon found, and deliver’d her of
a second Son, and with small
difficulty brought away the After-Births
entire. I put the
Woman to Bed, seemingly tolerable
well for her Condition;
but the next day she had a
violent Fever and Purging, which G4v 48
which continu’d till the fifth
day, and then died.

Without dispute her Fever
and Purging, proceeded from
the many hot forcing things
they gave her in her long and
painful Travail; which is an
usual, but an intolerable practice.
The first Child lived two
days, the second three; so that
the Life of the Mother, and two
Children were lost for want of
judgent, and good management.

Ob- H1r 49

Observation XV.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Child presenting the
Face foremost.

Iwas sent for to Wilton, to
a Woman in Labour. I
found her in small Pain, but the
Child coming with the Face
foremost, and she very low-spirited,
because her Labour alter’d
very much from what it
used to be with her former Children.
I told her, If she would
keep herself on the Bed, lying
on her Back till she had strong
Pains, that there was no danger,
and that she’d do well. She
continu’d that day in small H Pains H1v 50
Pains till the next morning five
o’clock, when I was sent for
again, and about seven deliver’d
her of a stout Girl, and well,
except the Face, which was a
little swell’d and black; a Case
common when the Face presents
first. In these Deliveries,
if Midwives are not very careful,
they may do a great deal
of hurt to the Face and Eyes of
the Child, as I shall shew in my
next Observation, where it proved

Ob- H2r 51

Observation XVI.

A Woman in the country being
deliver’d before I got to
her House, and the Child
much injured.

Iwas sent for to Curry‑
to a Tanner’s wife,
about eleven o’Clock at night,
it being very bad weather, and
bad roads as ever were rode, so
that before I got there, the Child
was born. I did not go up stairs
directly to see the Mother and
Child. The Women saying all
was well, I thought proper to
dry my cloaths, being very wet
and tired, (for ’twas eight long
miles.) When I had dry’d and H2 recover’d H2v 52
recover’d myself, I went up stairs,
and to my great surprize saw the
Child with one Eye out, and the
whole Face much injur’d, having
no skin left on it, and the upper
Lip tore quite hollow from the
Jaw-bone was extremely swell’d,
so that the Child could make no
use of it. I put some warm water
and sugar in the Child’s
mouth, with a small spoon, and
resting it upon the Tongue, the
poor Infant suck’d it down. I
ask’d the Midwife, How the
Child’s Face came to be so
miserably hurt? She told me
the Mother fell down two days
before she was in Travail, and,
as she thought, hurt the Child,
for she was sure it was born
right. I told her I was sensible
the Child came Head foremost,
but the Face presented
to the Birth; and the damagemage H3r 53
the Child received was
from her fingers. She could
not make any defence for herself:
I found her extremely ignorant.

I returned home, and sent
proper dressings for the Child’s
Face. It did very well, and
was a pretty girl, excluding the
loss of her right Eye. (I saw
her when she was five years of

I think this Observation worth
taking notice of, to caution Midwives
to deal in a tender manner,
when the Child presents
with the Face foremost, which
may be known by touching the
Child. The Eyes, the Mouth,
the softness of Cheeks, will sufficiently
discover if the Face
comes first; and then there
must be waiting with patience.
I have had several such Births in H3v 54
in my time; but, I thank God,
never had a Child received the
least hurt, tho’ a little swell’d,
and blackish; which is common
in those Labours.

Observation XVII.

Of a Woman and Child both
dying, thro’ the ignorance
and weakness of her Midwife,
and the shortness of
the Navel-string.

Iwas sent for to a Comber’s
wife in East-street. The Woman
was deliver’d of her Child
about One o’clock mid-day: I was
sent for at eleven at night; but it
was too late; for I found the Woman
dying. The relation of this misfortune, H4r 55
misfortune, which I had from
the Midwife and women, was
this. The poor Woman was taken
in Labour about twelve
o’Clock, and sent for her Midwife
and neighbours, who lived
very near her, and by one o’Clock
her Child was born. Her
Midwife deliver’d her standing
on her feet; (a way I cannot,
in the least, approve of, tho’
too commonly practis’d in the
country) who being a feeble ancient
woman, when the Child
was born, could not bring the
Secundine away; and the string
breaking close to the head of it,
occasion’d a violent Flooding,
even to death: in which state I
found her, quite drained, and
past recovery. I desir’d to see
the Child, and was prodigiously
surprized, to see so fine a Child
so unhappily and quickly lost; for H4v 56
for the Bowels were in the
Omentum or Cawl, without the
Belly: and searching into the
cause of such a misfortune, found
it occasion’d by the shortness of
the Navel-string: the Woman’s
standing on her feet, and the
weakness of the Midwife; so
that the Woman’s Pains being
strong and forcing, the Child
was born very suddenly: and
for want of the Body thereof
being supported, the weight of
it broke the Navel-string close
to the After-Birth; and, at the
same time, tore out the Child’s
Bowels. It was born alive, but
expired in half an hour. I remember
about three or four
years after this misfortune happen’d,
I was sent for to a gentlewoman,
who I had deliver’d
of several Children. She had
generally very good Times, and I I1r 57
I always deliver’d her in her
Bed (which I take to be the
only best way for Mother and
Child.) When the Child was
born to the pit of the Stomach,
I found it would not proceed any
farther, without the utmost
strength. The aforemention’d
accident came in my head, and
resolving to be satify’d, I slid
my hand to the Child’s Belly,
and felt the String strain’d very
much: I then slid my fingers a
little farther, and secured the
Child from danger. I kept my
fingers fast on the Navel-string,
and with my left hand on the
back-part of the Child, accomplish’d
the Delivery. The shortness
of the String occasion’d its
breaking close to the Secundine;
however, I brought the After‑
birth in less than seven minutes.
The Mother and Child did well; I and I1v 58
and as I have deliver’d her of
several Children since, so I don’t
doubt but the other case, being
of this nature, both Mother
and Child might have been preserv’d,
if the Woman had been
in her Bed, and had had a Midwife
of judgment and activity,
which is of grand service in our
Profession. I have help’d into
the world many Children with
short Navel-strings, but never
had any misfortune attend either
Mother or Child. This Gentlewoman’s
Child’s String was not
six inches long, the other about
that length; the shortest I ever

Obser- I2r 59

Observation XVIII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Child having a large
Tumour on the Back, and
other ways deform’d.

Iwas sent for to a Woman
of my own, which used to
have very good Times, but this
did not prove so. I brought
the Child’s Head to the Shoulders
with great difficulty: and
then it stuck so fast, that I was
obliged to use all my strength
to bring the remaining part of
it; which difficulty was occasion’d
by a large tumour on the
Back, which reach’d from the
Shoulder-blades to the Fundament.I2 ment. I2v 60
In using so much strength
the Tumour broke, and there
was at least sixteen ounces of
black matter, that resembled
the Child’s Excrements, if it
was not the same. It appear’d
when full to be quite round, and
about the bigness of the crown
of a child’s hat; it broke in the
middle of the upper part, that
being the thinnest. A Surgeon
was sent for to take care of it,
whilst she lived, which was but
eight days. I thought it a great
mercy to the Infant she died.
The aforesaid part on the Back
being laid open, all the Backbone
lay bare; and she had no
Muscle in the Fundament, but
a little triangular hole, as tho’
made with the point of a small
sword. The Excrements squeezed
thro’ as often as the Child’s
Legs were moved. The Kneepanspans I3r 61
were under the Hams, the
Feet in the place of the Ancles,
and the Toes of one Foot, always
lay on the Toes of the other;
but it had the most beautiful
Face and Hands that ever I saw
an Infant have.

The Mother did well, and had
Children afterwards.

Observation XIX.

A Woman in great danger of
her life, being extreme
costive, but relieved by a

Iwas sent for to Ennore,
to a Gentlewoman who was
very Hysterical and Melancholy,
and six Months gone with Child. Her I3v 62
Her Husband sent for a relation
that lived in Taunton, and desir’d
me to ride with her. ’Twas
six long miles, eight o’Clock at
night, and a very bad road; so
that ’twas ten before we got
there. I found her very full of
Pain, and a little delirious for
want of rest, not having any for
a week. Her Physician had
given her many medicines to
prevent a Miscarriage, which
could do her no service, as will
appear; but what he did was
occasion’d by her Midwife’s informing
him she was in danger
of miscarrying: she told me the
same, viz. That her Waters were
broke, and she was sure she
would miscarry. I desired to
see some of the linnen that was
wet with the Waters: They told
me they were wash’d, therefore
could not presently be a judge of her I4r 63
her Case; and being a stranger
to her, she would not admit of
my Touching her: but her husband
and relations at last prevail’d
with her, to suffer me to
satisfy myself and them of her
condition. It was then about
three o’Clock in the morning.
I told them she must have a
Glyster: but some of her friends
and the Midwife were entirely
against it, thinking it needless;
and the reason they gave was,
her being a very little eater. I
told them ’twas impossible to
inform myself, whether she had
any Symptoms of Miscarriage,
till the Excrements were removed;
which could be no other
way, with security, done, than
by a Glyster. I could not persuade
them of the usefulness of
it, till five in the morning,
when the Glyster was given, and she I4v 64
she (ten minutes after) evacuated
such a large quantity as surpriz’d
them all; and after her second
stool (for she had but two, and
indeed ’twas enough) she dropt
asleep, and did not wake till
two of the clock in the afternoon,
when she found herself
easy, and quite compos’d. I then
Touch’d her, but could not discover
the least Symptoms of
Miscarrying. She went out her
Time, and did very well. She
and her friends were then convinced
of the advantages that
did occur from that advice, I
being well assured all her Pangs
proceeded from the want of an
Evacuation. I have observed it
to be a common case among
Women with Child, and always
relieved them with a Glyster,
and found it a means to prevent
Miscarrying; altho’ it is very useful K1r 65
useful to promote Delivery, when
Women are at their full Time.

Observation XX.

The Delivery of a Woman
who had Twins, her first
Child being born the day

Iwas sent for to Bishop’s
, to a Woman in
the utmost extremity. She was
taken in Labour on Friday, and
on Saturday about Noon she had
one Child. Her Midwife put
some warm water in a close-stool,
and set her on it, and desir’d her
to strain with her Pains. The
first Child fell into the pan of
water; notwithstanding which K it K1v 66
it was alive when I came there.
Her Midwife endeavouring to
fetch the Secundine, found there
was another Child, and told the
Woman when the other apple
was ripe, it would also fall. (O
ignorance!) But she found herself
mistaken: for un Sunday
morning, her Husband came for
me in a violent hurry, telling
me he fear’d his Wife could not
live till I got there. We rode
as fast as possible, and ’twas but
five miles from Taunton, yet
we had two messengers sent after
us for expedition, for all
her Women thought her dying.
When I came there I found the
Child so fixed to the Os Pubis,
that I had an hour and half as
hard work as ever I had in my
life: tho’ the Child was born
alive, and lived till the Saturday
following. The first Child died K2r 67
died the Wednesday before. I met
with great difficulty in bringing
the After-Births: they were very
large, and extremely close
join’d to the bottom of the Matrix.
With my left hand I was
oblig’d to keep her Belly down,
with all my strength, whilst
with my right hand I peel’d off
and loosen’d the Secundines from
the Matrix. My hands were
seiz’d with the Cramp twice;
which oblig’d me each time
to hold my hand still till the
Cramp was gone: which made
it near twenty minutes before I
could bring them both away.
It was the longest time that ever
I was in performing that part
of my business; tho’ had I been
with her when the first Child
was born, I should have deliver’d
her of the second Child in
fifteen minutes or less. For ’tis K2 certain, K2v 68
certain, if a Midwife understands
her business as she ought, she
might bring the second Child
soon after the first: for generally
in the Birth of Twins, when
the first is born, the other should
be brought by Art; for I never
found there was any occasion
either to wait for Pains, or to
put a Woman to any more than
ten or fifteen minutes pain, after
I had deliver’d her of the
first Child: especially if the first
comes right, and the second
wrong, as it generally proves.

Ob- K3r 69

Observation XXI.

The Delivery of a Woman,
who was kept in hard Labour
many hours, by the
ignorance of her Midwife.

Iwas sent for to Hill-Bishops,
to a Soap-boiler’s wife. Her
own Midwife could not be had.
Her Husband came for me; I
went with him, and about a
mile before we came to his house,
a man met us: he was running
very fast. He ask’d the man
that rode before me, Whether
he had seen such a Midwife?
naming her name. He answer’d
he had been for her, but she was
eight miles off. When I came to K3v 70
to the Soap-boiler’s house, I
found the Woman in a good natural
Labour: I deliver’d her
in two hours: ’twas about seven
o’Clock in the morning. As soon
as she was deliver’d, I desir’d
them to send to the afore-mention’d
poor man’s Wife, to know
if they had got a Midwife; if
not, I would go to her. They
sent me word they had one, and
they believ’d she would be deliver’d
in a little time; but
about eleven o’Clock, as I was
riding home, I call’d at the
house, to know if she was deliver’d:
they told me no, but she
would be in a quarter of an hour,
so they would not give me the
trouble of going in to see her.
I then rode home, and about
four o’Clock in the afternoon,
her Husband came for me, to
desire me to ride to his Wife, for K4r 71
for the women told him, they
believ’d she’d never be deliver’d.
I can’t but say it displeas’d me,
that they refus’d my seeing her,
when I was so near. I went with
him, and when I came, found
the Woman in violent Labour.
The Midwife told me the Child
lay as it did ever since seven
o’clock in the morning. As
soon as I Touch’d her, I was sensible
of the reason of this poor
Woman’s being kept so long in
distress. I sat down by her. She
was on her Knees, one of the
usual ways in the Country, but a
wretched one. I found strong
Pains had been so long upon her
that I could round the Head of
the Child with my whole hand,
when she had no Pains. The
first Pain she had, after I was
with her, I broke her Waters,
and was forc’d to be very quick to K4v 72
to receive the Child; for her
Pains being violent, and the
Child so long confin’d by the
thickness of the Skin that held
the Waters, as soon as the
Child had liberty, it was born
in less than half a minute, which
astonish’d the Midwife and Women:
they would fain have prevailed
on me to have told them
what I did; but I chose not to
inform them at that time. It
is very evident, that this Woman
suffer’d seven or eight
hours Pain more than she need
have done, had she had a Midwife
of judgment in the beginning
of her Travail.

I have often been sent for to
the assistance of Women in the
same circumstances, and have
several times found them flooding.
The only reason has been,
for want of breaking the Waters, the L1r 73
the violent Pains opening some
of the Vessels, and loosening
part of the After-Birth. For
’tis an undoubted rule, If Pains
do no good, they do a great
deal of harm.

Observation XXII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
who had a great Flux of
Blood, a month before her

Iwas sent for into Eaststreet,
to a Comber’s Wife,
one of my Women. When I
came I found a violent Flowing
of the Menses; and believe she
lost near a gallon of Blood. She
being up, I order’d her to Bed. L I L1v 74
I ask’d her, How near she was
to her Reckoning? She told
me one Month. Touching her
I found little Symptoms of Labour:
I told her my opinion
was, she Long’d for something.
She said she did not Long, but
had been in pain twelve hours
before her Flooding: which confirm’d
my opinion touching her
Longing. She still deny’d it,
till I told her that both she and
the Child would doubtless lose
their lives, unless she speedily
had what she had an Inclination
for: she answer’d, What should
poor people Long for? I assur’d
her if ’twas any thing could be
had, I would get it, let the
price be what it would. She
knew nothing she Long’d for,
except a Peasecod, that she saw
a boy hold up against the Sun:
she presently after had Pains, (which L2r 75
(which was the day before.) Inquiring
I heard of a Gentleman
that had a present of some, sent
him from a garden in the country,
and the first that were in
the town. I got some of them
for her: as soon as she had eaten
them her Menses ceas’d. She
went the Time of her Reckoning,
and had a good Labour. I
deliver’d her of a Son: the Child
and Mother both did well. Such
things as these frequently happen.

Therefore have reason to believe
that Forc’d Deliveries in
these Cases, have destroyed many
Lives. I could give various
Instances of this kind in my
practice, but chuse only this
by way of caution, because Women
are very apt to conceal their
Longings, which makes them often
very great sufferers thereby.

L2 Ob- L2v 76

Observation XXIII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
with great difficulty, her
Child presenting the Arm

Iwas sent for to a School‑
Mistress: when I came, I
found her Pains small, her Waters
broke four days before: she
was very ill, and had a Fever.
I Touch’d her, and found the
Child lay a-cross. One Arm and
the Ribs presenting first, the
Waters being past, and her Body
hot and dry, I apprehended
’twould be a difficult Labour;
and so it proved: for as I slid my
fingers along the Ribs, to search for L3r 77
for the Feet, my Hand and Arm
was so seized with the Cramp,
as obliged me to withdraw my
Hand for fifteen minutes. I attempted
again, but without success.
I was very uneasy, knowing
such attempts put the Woman
to fresh Pain. In short, I
was forced to rest till my Arm
was better, when I made another
attempt, and, with God’s leave,
perform’d the Delivery, without
withdrawing my Hand any more,
although my Hand was several
times numbed, before I could
reach the Feet: but as I advanced
I found the Child alive,
and suck’d my finger in the
Womb, which concern’d me;
fearing it impossible for the poor
Infant to be born alive, because
of the circumstances already
given; the Mother’s weakness,
and the Child’s largeness. But recovering L3v 78
recovering my thoughts, I resolved
to do my duty for the
poor Woman’s sake, and leave
the event to the Omniscient
God. I was obliged to be exceeding
careful and slow, yet
resolved with all my strength,
and a full resolution, to accomplish
what I was about. When
I had hold of one Foot, I found
it hard work to hold it, and
draw it towards me, by reason I
could hold it but with my two
fore-fingers at first. However,
I kept my hold, and in a small
time brought the Feet out of
the Uterus (or Womb.) I brought
also the Legs out to the Knees;
then I wrapt them in a linnen
cloth, and gave them to two
strong Women, and desir’d them
to draw in a strait line, whilst I
took care of the Woman’s body, to L4r 79
to prevent any injury, and secure
the Child that it might be
brought off whole; which, thro’
mercy I compleated. The Secundine
stuck closer to the Matrix
than is common in these Cases;
which, I believe, was owing to
the dryness of the Womb from
her Fever. The Child had not
the least appearance of life, and
’twas impossible it should: this
Delivery being at least an hour
and half’s hard work, which seldom
happens: for in common
wrong Births it is very rarely
more than half an hour, and often
not fifteen minutes. I don’t
remember above four such terrible
Labours, in all my practice.
The Woman did well. I
have set this Observation down
as plain as possible, to encourage
Midwives, that they may with
justice and safety go thro’ the most L4v 80
most difficult part of their work,
as well as that which is easy. I
could not turn in my bed, without
help, for two or three days
after, nor lift my Arm to my
Head for near a week; and forced
to bathe my Arm with Spirit
of Wine several times a day.

Observation XXIV.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Child having two Tumours
on the Head.

Iwas with a Comber’s wife,
a near neighbour to the Woman
mention’d in my last Observation:
she had been in Labour,
and her Midwife with her
several days. I ask’d the Midwifewife M1r 81
the reason why she did not
deliver her. She could give
me no account, whether the
Child was right or wrong; but
Touching her, I found the Shoulder-blade
presented first. I advanc’d
farther in search of the
Feet, and found the Child’s Navel-string
without the least Pulsation,
which satisfy’d me ’twas
dead. I found the Feet, and
drew them towards me, so compleated
the Delivery in less than
half an hour. Viewing the Child,
I saw on the back part of the
Head two large Tumours, one
above the other, as if the Water
contain’d in the under Tumour,
did, when full, ascend to
the upper one, which reached
to the Crown of the Head. The
biggest was as large as a Goose’s
egg, and the other about half
that size. I open’d them both; M ’twas M1v 82
’twas only clear Water that issued
out of them: it lay between
the hairy Scalp and the
Skull. The Woman did well;
but had a Fever for five days;
which I imputed to some strong
waters given her for her Pains,
as they said; which I think a
pernicious Custom.

Observation XXV.

A Woman in the country being
deliver’d before I got
there, her Child being very
much mangled.

Iwas sent for to Hatch, to
a Farmer’s wife, but before
I could get there a Midwife had
deliver’d her: she was in a very low M2r 83
low condition, more likely to
die than to live. The Child
was sew’d up in a piece of Flannel,
and cover’d with Flowers in
order for its Burial. I desir’d
to see the Child, but the Midwife
refus’d for some time. I
insisted on its being undress’d,
which was accordingly done.
When I saw the Infant, I was
much surprized; for the left
Arm was tore off, in a most indecent
manner. I ask’d the
Midwife, If she was sure the
Child was dead before she proceeded
in so rash a manner?
She told me she did not know
but it was: for the Arm had
been in the world above thirty
hours. I never saw a Child so
mangled in my life. The Midwife
seem’d to have more Courage
than Judgment. The Woman
likewise received great M2 hurt; M2v 84
hurt; but taking my advice she
recover’d. I heard from her
every other day, till she was out
of danger. I could not constantly
attend her, it being eleven
miles from me, and very bad

I should not have mention’d
this error of the Midwife’s, had
it not been to caution others
against attempting to such Deliveries
without knowledge. I
told her, if she had proceeded
in a regular manner, as soon as
her Waters broke, to have search’d
for the Feet, she might have
turn’d it, and deliver’d the Woman,
without mangling the
Child, or injuring the Mother.
She acknowledg’d what I said
was very just, and that she
would not proceed so rashly for
the future.

Ob- M3r 85

Observation XXVI.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Child’s Arm presenting
first; two Midwives endeavouring
to deliver, but
could not.

Iwas sent for to a Comber’s
Wife, who had two Midwives
with her for a Day and a
Night, endeavouring to turn
the Child; but finding it not in
their power, they then desir’d
my assistance. I found the Woman
leaning forward on the back
of a chair, and both the Midwives
at hard labour; but the poor
Woman at much harder. I laid
her on the bed, on her left side, and M3v 86
and search’d for the Feet, which I
easily found. I turn’d the Child,
and deliver’d her with a great
deal of ease in less than ten minutes.
For the Midwives endeavouring
to return the Child’s
Arm (as they told me they had
done several time, but it would
not remain in the Body) had
made such way, that occasioned
the Delivery to be easy to me,
altho’ the Woman was a great
Sufferer by such management.
I never found any occasion in
those Births to return the Arm;
I always found liberty enough,
with gentle proceeding and
strength, to pass by the Arm,
and come at the Feet, which
always succeeded well. The
Child had been dead some time,
but the Mother recover’d.

Ob- M4r 87

Observation XXVII.

The Delivery of a Woman
whose Child was dead, being
very sillily manag’d Six
Weeks before her Time.

In Paul’s Street, I was sent
for to a Woman that thought
herself in Labour; but I told her
the Pain she had was the Cholick.
I order’d her something to take,
and advis’d her to go to bed. I
went home, it being after ten at
night. I sent the next morning
to know how she did: her mother
sent me word she had a
good night, and was then asleep.

I was sent for to a Gentlewoman
in the Country on a Miscarriagecarriage M4v 88
that morning, where I
remain’d that day. In the afternoon
the Woman was seiz’d
with the Cholick again: her
Husband came for me; but I
being with the Gentlewoman,
they got another Midwife. I
came home about six in the
evening, and went to see how
the Woman did. Her Husband
met me at the door, and told
me that not being at home, he
had got another Midwife; and
that his Wife was like to be deliver’d
in a little time: I said I
was sure ’twas impossible. I
went home without seeing the
Woman, but sent three times
that night, to know how she was;
the constant answer was, she was
on the pinch of Delivery. I heard
nothing of her for three days
after; and then I was told the
poor Woman was not deliver’d. The N1r 89
The news did not surprize me, I being
well assured her Time was
not expired; nor her Pains,
when I was with her, the least
tending to Labour. I immediately
went to see her, and
found her in a very low condition;
her Midwife and Women
with her. They told me
they had been with her all that
time: Her Eyes were swell’d
with weeping; her Midwife having
told her, she thought she
could never be deliver’d. I ask’d
the reason, Why she kept the
Woman so long in hand? She
said, Because God’s time was not
come: I told her, I then thought
she had no business with her.
The reason she gave for trying
to deliver her, was because she
had Pains. I Touch’d the Woman,
but found not the least
Symptoms of Labour, only the N Birth N1v 90
Birth extended and swell’d, thro’
the ill usage and ignorance of
her Midwife. I order’d her to
be put to bed, and gave her
things to ease her Pains, which
had been much increas’d by ill
management. I bid them keep
her in bed three or four days,
till all her Pains were gone. I order’d
Fomentations for the parts
swell’d. She went Six Weeks
after this, in which time I often
saw her: she continually complain’d
of a constant Motion of
the Child, which made her so
weak for want of rest, that she
was incapable of doing any business.
At the Six weeks end
she sent for me, about eight of
the clock at night, and told me
she had Pains; but had not felt
her Child for two days. I
Touch’d her, and told her
’twou’d be her Labour; but I could N2r 91
could be no ways serviceable to
her till morning. I bid her
keep in her bed till her Pains
came stronger, which she accordingly
did; and about nine the
next morning she sent for me
again. About eleven o’clock, I
deliver’d her of a Boy, which,
I believe, had been dead the
whole time she had not felt
it. It was like a Skeleton, cover’d
with a beautiful white
Skin; but the Bones and Ribs
plainly appear’d thro’ the Skin.
It was exceeding tall. I doubt
not but the Child’s being disturb’d
before its Time, was the
Cause of its continual Stirring;
and, consequently, of its extreme
Thinness and Death.

This Observation I have set
down to caution those professing
the Art of Midwifery, to be well N2 assur’d N2v 92
assur’d of a True Labour, before
they begin their Work.

Observation XXVIII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
in a violent Flooding, the
After-Burthen presenting

Iwas sent for into the Country,
about seven miles distant
from my house, to a Butcher’s
Wife. Her Husband told
me, the Women order’d him to
make all possible haste, for they
fear’d she would die before I got
there. I found her very low and
weak; for she had had a continual
Flowing of the Menses
for a Fortnight, and then floodeded N3r 93
so violently, that she was
given over. She had two Midwives
with her: they said that
the Woman told them, she was
Six Months gone with Child;
but they could not believe it;
for by searching her they could
not perceive any Child. I then
thought it highly necessary to
inform myself of the reasons
of her violent Flooding; and
Touching her found a great
deal of Coagulated Blood, which
I brought off, and then perceived
the After-Birth to present
first: I got that immediately;
and then brought off the
Child. ’Twas a fine Boy, and
lived about half an hour. By
its Largeness, I believe, she was
near Seven Months gone. The
Woman lived and did well, but
it was some Time before she recover’d
her strength.

Ob- N3v 94

Observation XXIX.

The Delivery of a Woman
being seized with the Small
Pox, and brought in Labour
before her Time.

Iwas sent for to North Curry,
to a Woman that had
been in Labour two days and
one night; but in no more likelihood
of being deliver’d, than
when her Midwife was first with
her, as she told me; altho’ she
had been in strong Pains ever
since, and in a high Fever. I
Touch’d her, and found it not
a natural Labour: but being
kept so long in hand endeavouring
to procure a Delivery, the Waters N4r 95
Waters were gone, and part of
the Child’s Head bare. The
Child being dead, I thought it
proper to use my utmost endeavour
to deliver her, which I
accordingly did, and in a short
time brought off the Secundine.
It was very whole and sound;
but after her Delivery she complain’d
of a violent Pain in her
Back, and said she was almost as
bad now as when in Labour. I
consider’d what might be the
reason of her Complaint, knowing
she was safely deliver’d; I
was satisfied her Pangs could
not proceed from her Labour.
I ask’d her, If she had ever had
the Small Pox? She told me No;
and that she had been six miles
from home, and in the house
where she lay there was a person
in the Small Pox, who surpriz’d
her very much: ’twas three days N4v 96
days before she fell ill: she said
she had six Weeks longer to
Reckon. I order’d her Husband
to send for a Physician, for
by her violent Fever, and Lightheadedness,
she was in great
danger of Life; and so it proved:
for she did not live above
eight and forty hours, but died
delirious. Her Daughter-in-law
came to me after she was bury’d,
and told me she was prodigiously
full of the Small Pox and Purples;
and that it was the opinion
of the Physician, had they
sent for him at first, when she
sent for the Midwife, both she
and the Child might have been
preserved: for her Midwife,
whilst with her, had given her
strong Waters, and her Husband’s
Water with the juice of Leeks,
and other things of the same nature,
keeping her out of her bed; all O1r 97
all which management increas’d
her Fever, and forc’d her Labour;
tho’ all her Pains at first
were only Symptoms of the
Small Pox.

Observation XXX.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Child’s Breech presenting

Iwas sent for to Creech, to
a Gentlewoman that I usually
deliver’d. She told me she
had Pains, but believed she
should die. She was always a
timorous, fearful Woman, but
now more so than formerly. I
found her Child was wrong, and
was some time before I could
perswade her to go to bed: I O prevail’d O1v 98
prevail’d with her at last, and
got her in bed without breaking
her Waters, which answer’d my
ends. I laid her on her left side,
and the first and second Pains
she had, after she was in bed,
I dilated the Matrix, which
sunk the Waters very low and
large; in her third Pain I broke
the Waters, and slipt my finger
in the Bending of the Child’s
Thigh, for it came Breech foremost,
and so deliver’d her in
less than three minutes. But
notwithstanding she had so quick
a Delivery, and good Lying-in,
and that both Mother and Child
did well; yet some of her Women
said they should not like a
Midwife to bring a Child so
quick; but they lik’d a Midwife
to stay and wait till Pains
brought the Child: as will appear
in the following Observation,tion, O2r 99
where they kept the Woman
a long time in suspence,
without sending for me, for fear
I should deliver her too soon.

Observation XXXI.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Child’s Arm being out
of the Birth to the Shoulder
eight days.

Some Time after I was sent
for, in the Parish of Creech,
to a Woman who had been in
Labour nine days. Her Husband
came for me on a Saturday in
the Afternoon, and the Child’s
Arm had been out of the Birth
to the Shoulder the Saturday
before; which was eight whole O2 days, O2v 100
days, and, by circumstances,
near as long dead. Her Midwife
told me her Pangs came on
strong the Friday sennight before
in the Evening, and early
on Saturday morning her Waters
broke, and then the Child’s
Arm came forth from the Womb,
and her Pains immediately went
off. She had had none since
that time till now, and she believ’d
the Child dead from the
Saturday noon; for whilst it
was living it often clasp’d its
hand round her finger, but had
long ceased to do so. She had
look’d on the Hand and Arm of
the Child, and found it black,
and much swell’d; which is
common as soon as a Child is
dead: the Blood always settling
in that manner. Her information
seem’d to be very right;
for had it been dead and bury’d three O3r 101
three months, I think it could
not have been more putrified
nor offensive. I instantly endeavour’d
to deliver the Woman,
by searching for the Feet,
but her Pains were so violent,
as to force the Child so strong
against my hand, that my attempts
proved all in vain. I
then consider’d I should want an
Incision-knife, to take off the
Arm at the Shoulder, (a thing
I never had need to attempt before.)
But having neither Incision-knife,
nor Pen-knife, I
took hold of the Arm, to try
if I could twist it off, and with
a very small pull it dropp’d
from the Body. I then proceeded
to search for the Feet,
which I soon found. The first
Foot I got hold of I drew towards
me, but it immediately
separated from the Knee: I laid it O3v 102
it down, and search’d for the
other, and that came off likewise:
then I took hold of one
Thigh, and brought that to the
Birth; and with my other hand
got hold of t’other Thigh, and
brought both together in a strait
line. The Woman’s endeavours
with her Pains very much assisted
me to bring off the remaining
part of the putrid Body,
which I brought off together
very soon, and rescu’d the
poor Woman from the Jaws of
Death. For the violence of her
Pains had distracted her so, that
she often begg’d the Women to
kill her. Had she not been deliver’d
soon she must have died;
for when I came there, I beheld
her an object in such violent
bearing Pains, I believe the
strongest that ever were seen or
felt. Which confirm’d me in my opinion, O4r 103
opinion, That Women never die
undeliver’d for want of Pains.
For had her Child been right,
it would have been born with
two or three such Pains, without
a Midwife; but as it lay
wrong, it was impossible to be
born by the strength of ten,
without judgment.

I compleated the Delivery of
the Child and After-Birth, within
three quarters of an hour.
The Woman recover’d, and did
well, although her Blood was as
green as the top of a standing
pond; which was occasion’d by
her Child’s being so long dead,
and giving her such quantities
of strong Waters, and her Husband’s
Water with the Juice of
Leeks; which is a notable Prescription
among Country Midwives,
but a horrid Medicine,
and as often mischievous as prescrib’d.scrib’d. O4v 104
The Midwife told me,
The reason of giving these hot
things was to promote her Pangs:
I told her, I never gave one
thing to increase Pains in all
my Practice. For Pains were no
longer useful in Wrong Births,
than till the Waters broke. And
if she would know whether a
Child lies Right or Wrong, before
the Waters break, she must
search very gently between the
intervals of her Pains; for then
the Waters slacken, and ’tis
easily discover’d what part of
the Child presents first. If ’tis
Wrong, a Midwife ought to be
in readiness, to Deliver her Woman;
which may be done in
fifteen or twenty minutes.

Ob- P1r 105

Observation XXXII.

The Delivery of a Woman
of a Multitude of Bladders
of Water.

Iwas sent for to a Sergemaker’s
Wife: She told me
she was in the Seventh Month
of her Pregnancy. She was taken
with a violent Flowing of
the Menses. She sent for her
Midwife; but she doing nothing
for her, she sent for a Physician:
he gave her medicines that retarded
them for a time. In
about a fortnight they return’d
again, and so continu’d every
twelve or fourteen days, till
her Life was despair’d of. She P told P1v 106
told me she had commonly small
Pains, before the return of her
Flooding. I told her ’twas my
opinion, That at the return of
those Pains, what was in the
Matrix must be brought off.
I also assur’d her, I did not
think it was a Child: she said
she was sure it was, tho’ it might
be weak, for she felt it. I took
my leave of her for that time:
about eight days after she sent
for me in great haste, her Pains
being return’d; but by the time
I got there her Pains were almost
gone. On examining, I
found the entrance of the Matrix
open enough to admit the
top of my fore-finger, and by
force I advanc’d my second finger.
I was obliged to press my
left hand strenuously on her Belly,
to keep the Uterus steddy, and
with my two fingers I brought off a P2r 107
a great quantity of Bladders of
Water; the largest about the size
of a Pigeon’s Egg, and some as
minute as a small Pin’s-head. I
brought off near twenty parcels
that hung togther, with a putrified
Flesh. I put it in a large
bason, for her Physician to see.
It was his opinion ’twas a False
Conception: but ’tis my opinion
’twas a True Conception for the
first ten Weeks, and at that time
she lost the Child; the After‑
Birth remaining behind, grew
to that Substance. For I have
often observ’d the Secundine, in
many Miscarriages about eight
or ten Weeks gone, to have been
no other than a spungy Substance,
full of small Bladders of
Water, the bigness of Pepper‑
Corns, and some much smaller,
and the Fœtus seated in the
middle of a Bladder of Water, P2 as P2v 108
as large as a Hazel-nut. This
Woman miscarried six times before
she had a living Child:
then she had a Son, and a good
time. The next time of being
Pregnant she miscarried about
the usual time; and never miscarried
without imminent danger
of Live, thro’ a great loss
of Blood. I have thought her
dead when I have enter’d the
room, but as soon as I Touch’d
her (I thank the Omnipotent
for that knowledge) I never
failed stopping her Flooding. I
brought off all her Conception,
before I could venture to leave
her. When Pregnant again,
(which was the second time of
conceiving after her Son) it
proved to be of the same nature
as the former, consisting
of Bladders of Water, to the
quantity of two quarts. She did not P3r 109
not exceed twenty two Weeks,
before she was in the same dangerous
condition; when her
Pains being tolerable strong, I
brought it off in fourteen minutes:
and yet, after this, she
went her Time with a Daughter,
and I left her well, with the
Child sucking at her Breast. In
six or seven Months after I left
Taunton, which was the place of
her residence, I was inform’d
by her friends, that she had
wean’d that Child, and was
Breeding again. I was concern’d
to hear it, but wish’d she might
go her Time and do well; but
was inform’d to the contrary in
less than three Months after,
and that she was dead, and ended
Life with a violent Flooding,
the Conception not being
brought off.

Ob- P3v 110

Observation XXXIII.

The Delivery of a Woman
the Child’s Knee presenting

Iwas sent for to a Weaver’s
Wife in East-street. She
had had several Children, but
all dead born by the misfortune
of their lying wrong. This was
the first time I was with her.
I found the Child Wrong, and
could not instantly discover
what Part presented first; her
Pains following so fast, that they
would not give the Waters
time to slacken. As soon as her
Waters broke, I found it was
the Knee presented. I then endeavour’ddeavour’d P4r 111
to slide my Finger in
the Bending of the Knee, which
I brought forward: I got the
other, but with some strength,
which forced the Woman’s Pains.
I soon deliver’d her of a Son
alive and well. I always found
when a Child comes that way,
it may be born with little difficulty,
without searching for
the Feet (which some Authors
direct to) and that without any
hurt to Mother or Child; having
deliver’d many Women
of such Births. The greatest
difficulty I ever found, was to
be very quick in bringing the
Child to the Birth, whilst the
Pains were strong, just on the
breaking of the Waters: and
not to be too busy in such Labours,
till there is a sufficient
prospect; then the Work will
be soon finish’d with credit.

Ob- P4v 112

Observation XXXIV.

A Woman being brought into
great Pains and Danger before
her Time by her Midwife,
but went her Time
out after, and both Mother
and Child did well.

Iwas sent for to a Shepherd’s
Wife at King’s-Clift.
Her Husband told me she had
been in Labour from Saturday,
and he came for me Monday in
the Afternoon. I found the
Woman much fatigu’d, having
had a great many small Pains,
but found they were not Labour
Pangs; although her Midwife
often call’d for the Receiver to Q1r 113
to take the Child, on Sunday
night. When I came and heard
what had been done, I told her
I was certain the Symptoms of
Labour the Woman had upon
her, were the effect of her too
frequently Touching her. For
I found the Uterus open the
breadth of a Crown-Piece. I
then ask’d the Woman if her
Reckoning was out? She told
me ’twas not full nine Months
since she had her first Child, and
she went but eight Months with
it; which made her Midwife
and Women to believe she would
go no longer with this. I told
them, in short, ’twas not her
Labour, and if she would follow
my directions, I did not question
but she would go her full Time.
They said they would not believe
it: but the Woman herself
said, She would take my advice.Q vice. Q3v 118
I order’d Nurse to put
her to bed, and keep her there
at least two Days; and told her
what Fomentation to make, and
to use it warm three times a
Day, till all her Disorders were
taken off, which the Midwife
had brought on her, by her too
busy Touching. I charg’d the
Woman, when she was taken in
True Labour (which I inform’d
her how to know) That she
should keep her bed, and not
rise as soon as she felt her first
Pangs: a way common in the
country; nor to send for her
Midwife too soon. She told
me she hoped I would come to
her: I answer’d, I was sensible
her Time would be so quick,
that it would be in vain to send
for me; neither would she have
any occasion: for a good Motherly
Woman might be able to deliver Q4r 119
deliver her; and I am sure,
many Women would fare much
better, if they committed themselves
to God and Nature, than
to employ ignorant Midwives.
I went home, and sent her proper
Medicines to ease her Pain,
and the Saturday following,
which was our market-day, her
Husband came to me, and told
me his Wife was brave and well;
he hoped she would go her
Time out, and have a live
Child; the first being born
dead. I told him I did not
question it.

That day three Weeks he
came to my house again, and
told me his Wife was deliver’d
of a Daughter, about two of
the clock that morning. And
as I observed to her it happen’d;
for before the first neighbour
could get to his house, the Child Q4v 120
Child was born. His Wife and
Child were both well. In six
Weeks after she came to see me,
and return me thanks for my
advice: and told me she was
certain her first Child would
have been born alive, had she
sent for me, and herself freed
from a great deal of misery,
that she went through she also
affirm’d she was better, and
stronger in one Week, than she
was of the first Child in three

Ob- R1r 121

Observation XXXV.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Water being broke,
and kept flowing above six
weeks before she fell in
Labour, but did not go
out her time.

Iwas sent for to a Gentlewoman,
that I had deliver’d
of all her Children, she having
had several before this. I found
her in a great surprize; she
told me she thought herself five
months gone with Child, but,
as she sat at Dinner, her Water
broke, and a large quantity
came off; it still continued, yet
she declared she had not the R least R1v 122
least pain. I told her there was
no Danger in her Case, if she
would take my advice, To keep
herself very quiet. She asked me
if I thought she should go her
Time? I answered, I much
question’d it; but keeping herself
quiet, was the only thing
I could advise, to prevent Miscarrying.
She continued six
weeks and four days, her Waters
constantly running all that
time: She was then taken with
small Pains, and sent for me;
I told her it would prove her
Labour, though not so quick
as her other Labours ussed to be,
when at her full time. She was
in Bed when I went to her, it
being early in the morning; I
desired she would keep herself
there, which she did, and about
three hours after, her Pains came
stronger, that in a little time I delivered R2r 123
delivered her of a Son, alive,
and in good case, considering
the time she went with it,
which was six months fourteen
days. There did not appear the
least Disorder in the Child,
from her Waters being broke so
long before its time. The Child
being born so long before the
usual time, was the occasion
of its death, for he lived but a
few hours; and the reason of
her Travail being more lingering
than when at her full time, was
from the Unnaturalness of her
Labour, which I have observed
is seldom otherwise in cases
where Women come before
their time. I should not have
mentioned this, (because I have
had many such Births in my
Practice) were it not that many
Women are apt to be much discouraged
when such CircumstancesR2 stances R2v 124
happen to them. About
five Years ago, one of my Women
sent for me, and, when I
came, told me she was much
surprized and frighted, for her
Waters were broke, and that
without Pain: She had a month
longer to reckon, and fear’d it
was a token of her death, because
her Children always followed
her Waters; I gave her
for reason of this Alteration,
That it often happen’d, from
the thinness of the Membranes,
and the weight of the Waters,
and told her it was my opinion
she would go her time, as many
had to my knowledge. I gave
her many instances of this nature.
She went a month longer,
which completed her Reckoning;
but she fatigued me daily,
sending for me, and telling me
that one Friend and another strove R3r 125
strove to persuade her that they
were certain she must be in
great danger, and asked why
she did not send for a Man, and
be delivered? I told her, she
might use her pleasure, for my
part, I apprehended no Danger
attending her, and that I never
had one Woman do amiss in my
Life in her Case, and did not
doubt her doing well, when
her time was expired. And so
she did, and had the quickest
and best time that ever she had
before or since.

The best Advice I can give,
and what I always found successful,
whenever a Woman’s
Water breaks (let the time be
long or short, before their
Reckonings are expired) is, to
keep themselves as Quiet as possible,
and take care they get no
Cold, and then to wait with Patience, R3v 126
Patience, and not to lay any
Stress on Nature, nor in the
least to use any Art, or Endeavours
to promote a Delivery.

Observation XXXVI.

The Delivery of a Woman
who of her former Children
had injured herself
by too Strait Lacing.

A Farmer’s Wife that lived
two Miles in the Country,
came to speak with me, and told
me, she had four months to
reckon, tho’, by her Bigness, I
thought she could not have one;
but she told me, she was sure it
was so. I then told her, I fear’d she R4r 127
she laced very tight; she said it
was what she was advised to by
her Midwife, and Acquaintance
in the Country. I answer’d, it
was a great Error, and that she
ought to give herself all the
Liberty possible; she seemed
very much rejoiced, for she said
she was usually sick, and fainted
three or four times a day. She
begg’d I’d let her Husband hear
my opinion; for of her two
former Children she was in Labour
a week each Child, and
both dead born, which the
Women told her Husband was
owing to her not lacing straight
enough. Her Husband returning
to my house in about half
an hour, I told him the Advice I
had been giving his Wife, but
that she did not incline to follow
it without his approbation.
He immediately acquiesced to what R4v 128
what I said, and desiring her to
lace moderately the rest of the
time, he declared ’twas a great
concern to him to see her in
those fainting Fits; but that
his greatest desire being to have
a Child alive, made him persuade
her to bear her lacing. I
cannot imagine what Advantage
any Woman can receive from
severe lacing; but, on the contrary,
have known it very injurious,
especially to such short
Women as this was; for the
Pelvis in such being much
shorter, of consequence must be
less than in tall Women; and
were they to lace below the Os
, they could not walk. So
that all the room above the
Share-bone being little enough
to contain a Child, certainly
such people as do advise straight
lacing, never saw a Woman open’d S1r 129
open’d, undeliver’d; if they
had, they could not be of that
Opinion, but advise them rather
to wear no stays; for to see in
what little room the Bowels are
confined, and especially when
the Child is very large, it is
astonishing that Women and
Children do well; what can
be said for it is, the Omniscient
that form’d us in the Womb,
hath ordered it so.

According to the Woman’s
Reckoning, about four months
after, I was sent for about ten
at Night, and finding her up,
order’d her to bed; she ask’d
me, What she should do there,
for she never went to bed when
in labour all her life? However,
she agreed to be ruled by me,
and went to bed. About eleven
o’clock, I sat down by her, and
found my assisting her, (in putingS ing S1v 130
my two fingers just within
the entrance of the Uterus)
strengthened her Pains, and
with every Pain brought it
forward to the Os Pubis. Her
Child proceeded very fast, for
by this method I am always
capable of strengthening and
lengthening a Woman’s Pains,
if in true Labour. About
twelve of the clock, she began
to be very impatient, and desir’d
to rise, but was no sooner
up, than she begg’d to go to
bed again. I told her, if she
would go to bed again, there
she must be delivered; and,
accordingly, about one o’clock
I laid her in a proper posture
for that purpose, and, (by the
before-mentioned method of
bringing the mouth of the Matrix,
above the Os Pubis, with
every Pain, till the Child’s head was S2r 131
was quite clear from it) I delivered
her, in about an hour,
of a Son, a very stout Child,
and alive.

I have endeavoured to be very
plain in this Observation, that
if the Readers professing the
Art of Midwifery have the
least genius, they may soon arrive
to be great proficients in
this Art.

S2 Obser- S2v 132

Observation XXXVII.

The Delivery of a Woman
who had been in Labour
two Nights and one Day,
and her Pains gone, but
recover’d by an Anodyne.

Iwas sent for to a Comber’s
Wife, by East Gate. I found
she had been in Labour two
nights and one day. Her Midwife
told me her Pains were
gone, and altho’ she had given
her their usual Prescriptions, a
large quantity of Dr. Stevens’s
Water, and her Husband’s Water,
with the juice of Leeks,
(often mentioned) they did not
strengthen her Pains. I found her S3r 133
her Pangs small, and a great
distance between them; notwithstanding
I could round the
Head of the Child to the Ears.
I order’d her Nurse to warm
the bed hot, it being cold weather,
and, as soon as she was
in bed, gave her an Anodyne,
(which I have always found
successful in lingering Labours,
to remove unprofitable Pains,
and facilitate the Birth in true
Labours) which, according to my
expectation, succeeded; she soon
fell asleep, and continued sleeping
and dosing for six hours;
soon after she wak’d, her Pains
came on stronger; I was sent
for again, and found her Pains,
with my assistance, (as in the
former Observation,) answered
the desired Ends of a speedy
Delivery: but her Child was
dead; and, its skin being full of S3v 134
of blisters of water, appeared
to have been dead some time.
However, the Woman did well,
notwithstanding the length of
her Labour.

Observation XXXVIII.

A Woman delivered of her
Child five Days before I
was sent for, and unable
to make Water, relieved
by a Catheter

Iwas sent for to East-Street,
to a Gentlewoman who had
been delivered five Days, and
made no Water in all that time,
but brought up most she took,
and was in continual Pain. She
was extremely swelled, and her Belly S4r 135
Belly much bigger than it was
before her Delivery. I was
obliged to make use of a Catheter,
and immediately drew
off more than a gallon of water,
which gave her great ease for
the present. She had a Physician
from the second day; he order’d
her Fomentations to her Belly
three times a day. I was forc’d
the next day to draw off her
water again. When her Physician
ask’d me my opinion,
what was the matter with her?
I told him I thought an Inflammation
of the Womb: He said,
that was very contrary to what
her Midwife told him. I gave
him for reason, that in Touching
her, I found the Womb exceedingly
swelled, and very
hard. I continued to draw off
her Water once a day, for eight
days. Her Vomiting still continued,tinued, S4v 136
with a violent Fever,
and her Cleansings quite stop’d;
and altho’ her Physician, (a Gentleman
of Erudition and Judgment)
ordered her a great many
proper medicines for that case;
yet she continued a fortnight
more like to die than to live;
but the sixteenth day after her
Delivery, she was taken with a
violent Purging, and had near
forty stools in twenty-six
hours, and, though what she
voided was very black, and insupportably
offensive, yet, by
the care of her Physician, she
recovered, and did well.

Obser- T1r 137

Observation XXXIX.

The Delivery of a Woman
whose Child’s Arm presented

Iwas sent for to a Comber’s
Wife in St. James’s Parish,
about eight of the Clock at
night, but, being very ill of the
Cholick, could not go. They
told me she had a Midwife
with her, but she could not
deliver her; and about twelve
o’clock I was called again; but
continuing very ill, they sent
for another Midwife. About
five of the clock in the morning,
they sent again, and told
me the Woman would die, if T I did T1v 138
I did not go to her assistance,
for neither of her Midwives
could deliver her. This oblig’d
me to rise and go with them, altho’
I was so ill as to be forced
to hold by the Woman’s Husband
and another. When I got there,
I found the Child’s Arm out
of the Birth; I immediately
searched for the Feet, which I
soon found, and in a little
time completed the Delivery.
I was led home, and in my
bed before the clock struck
six. This fixed my Resolution
of leaving Taunton, for the
Country Business was too hard
for me; having no conveniency
in any Illness, but obliged to
go on horseback, or foot, which
had so impaired my health,
that, notwithstanding it is sixteen
years since I left it, I enjoy
more health and strength, than I did T2r 139
I did at that time; for I brought
at least three hundred Children
a year into the World, for many
years before I left the town.
I could enumerate vast numbers
of these Observations; but
have set down only a few,
which, I hope, will prove beneficial
to my sex in general,
when in my grave.

Observation XL.

The Delivery of a Woman
in a very deplorable Condition,
the Child’s Head
lying on the Os Pubis.

Iwas sent for to Paul’s Street,
to a Gentlewoman, her own
Midwife being from home. She T2 said T2v 140
said she usually had very good
Times, but was more uneasy the
last three months of her time,
with this Child, than ever she
was before, altho’ this was her
eighth child. She said her Child
lay exceeding forward, which
occasioned her a great deal of
Pain, in the lower Part of her
Belly and Groin. When I
Touch’d her, I soon let her
know the reason of her Pain;
the Child was a little lodged
on the Os Pubis, which caused a
sharper Travail than any she had
before, although I delivered her
in the space of two hours. Her
Husband’s relations persuaded
her it was owing to the Change
of Midwives; however, she
was willing to have me at her
next Delivery, but they would
not consent to it; so she had
her own Midwife again, and had T3r 141
had as good a time as ever;
which confirmed her relations
in their opinion, that the fault
was in the Midwife. But being
with Child again, she very often
complained that she was in the
same manner, and as uneasy as
she was of the Child that I delivered
her of. When her time
was expired, and she was in
Labour, she sent for her former
Midwife about six of the
clock in the morning; she
continued in short Pains, but
very sharp, till two in the Afternoon,
and from that time, till
nine of the clock at night, she
had violent strong Pains, and
very fast; and then her Midwife
and Friends admitted me
to be sent for. When I entered
the chamber, she was just laid
on the bed, and looking very
fierce in my face, clapp’d her hands T3v 142
hands together, in great Agony,
and said, She should never be
delivered; I said, I hop’d she
would. I Touch’d her, but was
terribly surprized, for I never
found a Woman so swell’d, and
was at a great stand to think
how the Child could be born
with safety. I turn’d to the
Midwife, and ask’d her, How
she could be guilty of so much
cruel usage to her fellow creature?
She answer’d, she knew
she was very much swell’d; I
told her, had it been her own
case, she would have thought it
very harsh usage. I proceeded
to relieve the poor Woman out
of her distress, and found in
every Pain the Child press’d
hard on the Os Pubis, as the
former one did, when I was
with her, and reliev’d the Child,
and delivered her in two hours. As T4r 143
As soon as I had clear’d this
Child from the Share-bone, I
was obliged to keep it back
with all my strength, three
Pains, before I dar’d suffer it to
be born, (for fear of ill consequences)
the mother being so
much swell’d. I thank God I
delivered her very safe, the seventh
Pain, after I was with
her, and her Child was born
alive, to her great Satisfaction,
but was obliged to poultis and
foment the Parts for eight days
before she could turn in her bed.
She recovered and did well. Her
Midwife told me, that her Child
had lain from seven of the clock
in the morning, without any
Alteration as she perceived, notwithstanding
so many hours extreme
Pain. I did not doubt
the truth of it; but ask’d how
she could expect a Delivery, as the T4v 144
the Child lay: For it was impossible
it could come through
the bones. I desired to know
what advantage she gained by
working so violently on the
Woman’s Body, telling her it
was very detrimental to the
Woman that was under her care.

When I left Taunton, she was
with Child again, and gone
half her time, and was greatly
troubled at my departure.

Obser- U1r 145

Observation XLI.

The Delivery of a Woman
taken with a violent Flooding
before her time.

Iwas sent for to a Gentlewoman
in Vine-street, in
Bristol, who was about six
months gone with Child, taken
with a violent Flowing of the
Menses: ’Twas about four of
the clock in the morning. I
found her Physician with her,
who had order’d her several
Medicines, but she continued
flooding very violently. I
Touch’d her, but found no
symptoms of Labour. I soon
stopp’d her Flooding for that U time, U1v 146
time, and she went to sleep. I
was call’d again, about eight the
same morning, in great haste,
her Flooding being return’d
with violence. As soon as I
Touch’d her, I stopp’d it again,
as I have often done in my Practice,
and always succeeded
in ten minutes, or less, after
Touching of a Woman; though
it would often return again, as
this Gentlewoman’s did; wherefore
I told her Physician it was
my opinion the sooner she was
delivered, the better; but he
thought it best to stay, and defer
it, if her Flooding did not
return. But about five in the
afternoon it returned; I then
purposed a Delivery, though no
symptoms offered but her flowing,
which had caus’d the mouth
of the Matrix to be relaxed:
She desired me to deliver her; I put U2r 147
I put my Fore-finger in the
Mouth of the Womb, and so a
second, and, by degrees, and a
little strength, my whole hand;
and, finding the Child lie across,
I search’d for the Feet, which I
soon found, and brought them
forward, and so completed the
Delivery in twenty minutes;
and the Gentlewoman told me,
she was stronger this time in
one week, than she had been in
three months of some of her
former Children, in the same
Circumstances; for she had several
such before. But the only
reason of her weakness, was
want of a quicker Delivery, before
she had lost so much Blood,
as, she told me, they always
suffer’d her to do, before they
deliver’d her. I attended her of
several Children after, at her U2 full U2v 148
full time, with little or no danger,
more than common. I
have been with many Women
that have flooded prodigiously,
some in Miscarriages, and some
at their full time; but, thank
God, I never lost any Life in
that case, through all my Practice.
It is a secret I would
willingly have made known, for
the benefit of my Sisters in
the Profession: But, having a
Daughter that has practised the
same Art these ten years, with
as good success as my self, I
shall leave it in her power to
make it known. There are a
great many that will acknowledge,
that (with the Omnipotent’s
leave) I have preserved
the lives of many in Miscarriages;
some six, seven, nay eight
times miscarrying, before they have U3r 149
have had a Child to live, and
every time attended with violent
Floodings, yet all did well.

Observation XLII.

The Delivery of a Woman
with the Child’s Face towards
the Belly.

Iwas sent for on St. Philip’s
, to a Woman who had
been in Pain a night and a day;
but when I Touch’d her, I found
her Pains were but the beginning
of Labour. I gave her an
Anodyne that night, and returned
home. Her Pains abated;
I attended her the next day, and
found but little Alteration; I
ordered her the same the Night follow- U3v 150
following. The next day her
Pangs seemed to strengthen, but
her Labour was not forward
enough for my assistance; I repeated
the same Draught that
night. They sent for me the
next morning, which was the
fourth day after my first attending.
I Touch’d her, and
found the Matrix open, the
breadth of a Six-pence; the
Child lay very high, which was
surprizing, her Pains being extreme
strong: She told me they
had been so violent from one of
the clock in the morning, and
this was about five. I endeavoured
to dilate the Womb, tho’
to little purpose, nor could I
get the Child’s head off the Os
, which did not answer my
expectation, nor the poor Woman’s
Pains. I then suspected
the Child came wrong, notwithstandingwith- U4r 151
it presented the
head first; and I desired to relinquish
my place, insisting on
having a Man-midwife sent for;
but the Woman wou’d not suffer
it, and told me, if I would not
deliver her, she would die, for
she’d not consent for any one
else. She was a Woman of exceeding
good Spirits, and did
not want for Pangs, yet her
Pains proved injurious to her
Delivery. I again urg’d the Woman,
her Mother, and Friends,
to send for a Man; but they
would not consent, unless I
positively affirm’d I could not
deliver her. I could not say
that, and speak truth. I then
laid her cross the bed, with a
bolster and pillows under her
stomach, to give the more liberty
for her belly to lie hollow,
that I might the better be able U4v 152
able to search her, and find
which way the Head came; it
was with a good deal of difficulty
I obtained satisfaction, by
reason of the strength of her
Pains. I found the Child’s Face
came to the Belly; it was a prodigious
long-headed child, and
her first, and was every way very
large. I then despaired of delivering
her without an Instrument,
which I did not care to
use; so desired them again to
send for a Man-midwife; but
they would not consent. I was
well assured the Child could not
be born with the Head foremost
without an Instrument, neither
could it be born unless the
Child’s Head was unbrain’d,
with safety to the Woman;
wherefore, being certain the
Child was alive, I came to a
Resolution to turn the Child, and X1r 153
and bring it by the Feet, which
I concluded would be the safest
way for the Woman, but fear’d
it would be too hard for the
Child, yet resolv’d, with God’s
help, to do my duty; and so,
leaving the event to the Omnipotent,
I search’d for the Feet,
but her Pains were so violent as
to make it very difficult to get
hold of a Foot; however, in
about fifteen minutes, I got
hold of one, and brought it
towards me with all my strength;
the other followed, and in half
an hour, I deliver’d her of a
live Child. I was greatly fatigued
in turning and keeping
the Face to the Back; yet had
not that been done, it would
not have answer’d a safe Delivery.
The Woman and Child
did well. I have deliver’d her X of X1v 154
of five Children since; her
third Child came the same as
the first, and all her Childrens
Heads were prodigiously big,
and very long; I was oblig’d
to turn that Child also; but
the Mother and Children did

I have had several Children
come with their Faces upwards,
and the Mothers have
had good Times, when the
Childrens Heads have been very
round, and they not large. The
reason of my being particular
in this Observation is, having
been inform’d of several Women
that have been delivered
with Instruments, and rent both
in one, when Children have
presented their Heads first, and
Faces to the Belly, having long
Heads; when these young Professorsfessors X2r 155
fixing a Hook in the
poor Babe’s Head, and bringing
the Child off by Force (with
great Strength and little Knowledge)
have ruin’d many Women
and Children, that I have heard
of. I can speak it with sincerity,
and truth, that I never injured
a Woman in all my Practice,
nor did I ever hear my Mother
had any one such accident in
all her’s. Nor do I remember
that I ever heard of above two,
before I went to Bristol, that
suffer’d in that manner: But
the Information I have had
from some Nurses, and the unfortunate
Sufferers, proves it
not to be very uncommon there,
through mismanagement in the
first beginnings of Labour;
wherefore it is necessary that an
exact judgment should be made, X2 whether X2v 156
whether the Child’s Head is situated
right or wrong; or if
the Child presses forward on
the Os Pubis, which if it
shou’d, it is best to advise the
Woman to lie in her Bed, and
on her Back, during her small
Pains; for, by that means, her
Child will settle to the Back,
where it must come, before it
is born. For my part, I never
found when a Child was clear
of the Os Pubis, but it would
be born without pressing back
on the Os Sacrum, as is the practice
of many, and, in my Judgment,
without any Foundation.
I have read many Authors
that advise such practice, and
even give directions to press
back the Os Sacrum with all
one’s strength, the breadth
of one’s hand: Which Practice I must X3r 157
I must condemn, as being very
prejudicial to Women; for I
never found it once successful,
but very much to the contrary.

Observation XLIII.

The Delivery of a Woman,
the Bottom of the Womb
falling through its Neck.

Iwas sent for to a Woman
in Labour; I found her
Pains very strong; as soon as I
Touch’d her, I found the Child
lay right, but the Mouth of
the Womb was sunk considerably
below the Child’s Head;
she being in her bed, I kept her on X3v 158
on her Back, and, with the two
fore-fingers of my right hand,
I raised the Womb, and the
Child came forward, and was
soon born; but, to my great
Surprize, going to fetch the
After-burden, I felt a great Substance,
not unlike a Child’s Head
ready to be born, and finding
the After-burden fast over it,
I immediately supposed what
it proved to be, the Bottom
of the Womb fallen through
its Neck; I directly put my fist
against the Substance, and return’d
it, but not without a
good deal of strength and difficulty,
and I held my hand still
till I found the mouth of the
Womb begin to contract itself;
then I peeled off the After‑
burden as you would the Rind
from an Orange, and brought it X4r 159
it away with little trouble, and
the Woman did very well; I
kept her in bed some days longer
than she used to be of her other
Children, and she had not the
least Complaint after, although
near three months before her
Delivery she complained of a
great Bearing down, insomuch
that she was not able to stand
nor walk; but lay on a couch
when out of bed, which disorder
occasioned her to speak
to me. She is still alive, and
well; it is about four years ago,
and the first and only Case of
this kind I ever met with. I
had not so much as Touch’d
the Navel-string, when I perceiv’d
this Accident; therefore
the Occasion of it must proceed,
as I conjecture, from the
weakness of the Woman, and her X4v 160
her having such a Bearing-down
so long before her Labour, and
the strength of her Pains, that
caused the bottom of the
Womb to follow the Child.
The reason of my being so
plain in this Observation is,
that a few Years before this
Accident happened to me, a
Midwife was very much blam’d
on account of a Woman that
died in this case, in less than
two hours after her Child was
born, the Midwife taking the
inverted Womb for another
Child; and she endeavouring
to deliver her, as she told her
friends about her, till the Woman
fainted, and then a Man‑
midwife was sent for; and he
not being at home, they called
another, and they both met
near together at the Woman’sman’s Y1r 161
house, but neither of
them could return the Womb
into its place, but they brought
off the After-burden, and the
Woman immediately expired.

I was informed that the
Men-midwives condemned the
Woman-midwife, telling her she
had pulled the Navel-string with
Violence, or else this Accident
would not have happened; but
she declared she did not; and
what she said might be true;
for if every Womb should be
inverted by fetching the After‑
burden by the String, although
with a considerable Strength,
there would be many such accidents,
which, experience tells
us, seldom happen. But, I
think, they would have done
well, to have informed this Y Midwife Y1v 162
Midwife that, as soon as she
felt the afore-said substance, she
should have used her art and
strength to have returned it.

But, if she wanted knowledge,
as I doubt she did, she
should have presently sent for
farther advice; for such Cases
admit of no delay; therefore
Midwives ought to be well instructed
in every Particular of
this so useful an art; for I
question whether the Womb
might be returned, unless it
be done in a few minutes
after its being inverted; for I
am satisfied it was not more
than four minutes after the
Child was born that I was
sensible of my Woman’s Case,
and I presently endeavoured
to return the Womb; but I found Y2r 163
found it a difficult work;
and it is not to be done without
knowledge and resolution;
but, praised be the Almighty
God, I accomplished it.

The End.

A small emblem with ornamental leaf border. The center of the emblem is roughly in the shape of a womb, which frames a human figure, pictured from the shoulders up.