Complaints During Pregnancy

The want of sleep, however, is frequently very distressing during the period of gestation. Ladies have lain, for nights, weeks – nay, for months without the lids once covering the eyes; and “Tired Nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep,” refused to alight upon their drooping eyelids.

The body, in such cases, has become emaciated, and the approaching crisis much endangered by such continued wakefulness; which is, by the majority of practitioners in this country, sought to be removed by a warm foot-bath at bed-time, by laxatives, tonics, opiates, and even bleedings.

But ladies who are troubled with this symptom, should, as much as possible, remain in the open air. A certain degree of tiredness does no harm, but rather good, during such a season; and a walk, or employment on the grounds attached to the house, is, in this instance, highly advantageous.

The bedroom of a pregnant lady should, as far as practicable, be large, airy, and well ventilated. The bed should consist of an iron or brass frame, a well-made spring mattress; a horse-hair or white wool mattress. The bed must not be loaded with heavy blankets, or thick, closely-woven counterpanes. If the weather be cold, let an extra blanket be put on the bed, as the perspiration can permeate through a blanket when it cannot through a thick coverlet. As a rule, knitted one is best suited for the summer months, and an eiderdown for the winter months. The bedroom, at night, should be dark. The chamber, too, should be as far removed form noise as possible. Noise is the great enemy to sleep. The bed-chamber, then, should, as the poet beautifully expresses it, be “deaf to noise”, and “blind to light”.

Another process which I have found beneficial under these circumstances, is sponging the body freely with something between tepid and cold salt and water, the properties being about two ounces of bay-salt to two gallons of water; the body afterwards should be well rubbed with a roughish towel or flesh-brush.

A lady having thus stimulated the skin immediately before retiring for the night, rest.

But there are cases when sleeplessness depends upon a certain morbid condition of the brain. These cases may be governed by such a multitude of causes, that they are among the most difficult which even the Homoeopathic practitioner encounters. However, the majority will frequently yield to either of the following remedies, namely-

To Aconite, if caused by fright, fear, or anxiety, with congestion and determination of blood to the head.

To Belladonna, when the patient feels sleepy, and yet cannot sleep, accompanied with restlessness, anguish, a dread of things, and frightful visions.

To Coffea, if caused by prolonged watching, great joy, over- excitement, or by the abuse of the same drug as a beverage.

To Hyoscyamus, if caused by great nervous excitement, depressing effects of long illnesses, with forebodings of the coming crisis. Hyoscyamus is well adapted for irritable and easily excited individuals.

To Ignatia, if caused by anxious thoughts, grief, sadness, or any depressing emotions.

To Moschus, if caused by hysteria: and

To Pulsatilla or Nux Vomica, if caused by deranged stomach.


More distressing than even watchfulness, is that sad and groundless despondency of which some ladies are the victims. This morbid feeling generally appears during gestation with the first child. Different people have adduced various causes to account for this fact; but will the reader pardon me if I attribute it to the lady, who has become a mother, no longer being alone, but having the pleasantest of society in her own offspring while yet in the womb, and in pervious experience mitigating the fear of the approaching crisis.

It will be thus seen that not without reason did I venture to recommend a lady should, during the period of pregnancy, be kept cheerful, and not to be left entirely without society. So easily are these things provided, and so inexpensive often are they, that it is distressing to observe how much they are neglected.

Above all, no person subject to despondency should be submitted to the venesection, purgatives, derivatives, and other coarse measures of the Allopathic professors. But when a patient is thus afflicted, the physician should minutely inquire into the case, and, according to the existing cause, administer his specific remedy.


Related to despondency is the unsettled vision and defective hearing to which ladies at this period are too liable. The sight is peculiar, especially as delivery approaches: in some cases light is painful; in others objects appear to float, to dance, or to be continually turning round; flashes of light are often complained of; -in short, every symptom which can denote excitement of the optic nerve, may, at this stage, be displayed.

The hearing also has been lost, but is more often afflicted with noises which have no external origin. Occasionally the sense becomes morbidly acute, and the smallest sound passing along the street cannot be endured.

The distressing accompaniments of the “pregnant state”, the Allopathist meets with his customary round of terrible aggravations. But the Homoeopathist seeks to find the seat which generates such morbid symptoms; and regards not only this, but also the temperament, hereditary ailments, and constitution of his patient, and administers his remedy accordingly.


Accompanying the present subject, is what is generally denominated spasm of the ureters, though I am by no means certain the effect is rightly named: but the symptom is very marked and extremely painful; a sharp agony leading towards the small of the back is endured, and almost an immediate incontinence of urine succeeds. Sometimes, however, no pain is suffered, but the patient is only annoyed by an inability of retention.

This, in either case, is peculiarly distressing to a sensitive woman: the odour from the fluid demands a repeated change of clothes, or banishes a lady from society. There is another phase of the same complaint, which is attributed to the foetus compressing the bladder; the dribbling then is incessant, and continues both by night and day.

A lady who, in May, 1875, sought my advice, was really rendered miserable by the foregoing symptoms. I contrived for her something which I am pleased to say rendered life endurable. It consisted of a half globe of india rubber, which was attached to the waist by four straps of elastic webbing; within the cavity was inserted a moderate-sized sponge.

Besides this, she wore a mackintosh, which was covered with flannel. By the repeated changing of this last appendage all unpleasant smell was effectually removed; and the excoriations, which commonly are present, were prevented by frequent ablutions with a solution of chloride of zinc-one grain to an ounce of water. This spasmodic condition of the ureters will frequently yield to Cocculus, causticum, Phosphoric Acid, or Nux Vomica.


The opposite state, however, or the retention of the secretion, is a frequent symptom during the latter stage of impregnation. The pain which is thus produced is frequently excessive, and poor ladies are said to have died under Peritonitis, caused by the actual rupture of the bladder, and the escape of the fluid into the abdominal cavity. For such a lamentable state, the patients can frequently do more for themselves than the medical man can generally accomplish. By lying down with the head lower than the heels, the pressure of the gravid uterus is thus removed, and relief generally rushes forth.

Should this simple stratagem, however, fail, a warm bath, at a temperature of about 95 degrees should be resorted to. I have found this succeed in more than one instance when I have found the retention to arise from spasmodic contraction of the sphincter muscle of the urethra.

Retention of urine will, however, sometimes arise from a want of tonicity or contractile power in the proper tunics of the bladder; or, again, from haemorrhoids. For the former, Cocculus, Phosphoric Acid, or Pulsatilla, will be found the most suitable remedies; and for the latter, Nux Vomica or Sulphur.

If none of these produce the desired effect, the employment of the catheter is the physician’s only resort. When the use of so simple an instrument as a female catheter is concerned, nothing opposes its employment save the feelings of the patient.

As soon as the pain is sufficient to excite urgent cries for relief, sufficient delay has been allowed; for there is always peril; longer forbearance being attended with many forms of danger.


Associated with retention, and generally most poignant where this form of disorder occurs, are cramps in the stomach. These cramps may attack any portion of the lower part of the body, such as the hips, back, abdomen, thighs, and legs: nay, they are not uncommon even in the soles of the feet; and when occurring in that situation, frequently induce serious falls in pregnant women. Ladies, however, should be careful to distinguish between those agonies which can legitimately be attributed to cramps, and those which arise from retention or distension. The two are very much alike in the pain they occasion; but a moment;s reflection on an obvious subject, will always enable the patient to separate or diagnose them. For thee symptoms, when they occur, urgent remedies speedily exhibited are always demanded. The cramp starts up instantly, without the smallest warning: therefore, every married lady should be careful that her domestic medicine chest contains one or all of the following medicines, viz. Coffea, Nux Vomica, and Veratrum.


Attending the latter stages of pregnancy though not always confined to this period, is that passive effusion under the skin which medical men recognise as Anasarca. It simply distends the parts, creeps on gradually, and is chiefly confined to the lower limbs.

William Morgan
William Morgan (1826 – 1894) was a British orthodox physician, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, who converted to homeopathy to become a Member of the British Homeopathic Society, Member of the British Institute of Homeopathy, Physician to the Brighton Homeopathic Dispensary, Physician to the North London Homeopathic Dispensary, Medical Officer at the Cambridge Homeopathic Dispensary, Member of the Homeopathic Publishing Company, Medical Officer at the London Homeopathic Hospital.
William Morgan wrote The homeopathic treatment of indigestion, constipation, and haemorrhoids, The philosophy of homeopathy, The Text Book for Domestic Practice, The Liver and Its Diseases, Both Functional and Organic, Diabetes Mellitus, Syphilis and Syphiloidal Diseases, Cholera, Diphtheria, The signs and concomitant derangements of pregnancy, Contagious diseases; their history, anatomy, pathology, and treatment, Diseases of the Liver, and their homeopathic treatment.