The Signs and Concomitant Derangements of PREGNANCY By William Morgan, M.D.
WHEN writing a book which I premeditate shall find its way into the centre of many families, I have been careful to avoid inditing anything which might alarm the susceptibilities of those whom it more immediately will interest.
It is written in the spirit of the Homoeopathic doctrine, which has now stood the test of more than eighty years, and which appears to gather new converts as it becomes more generally known. It is peculiarly adapted for that condition, towards relieving which the generality of practitioners will attempt nothing. It has, more over, one recommendation which no other medical doctrine can boast of. It has won its practitioners upon the score of CONVICTION only; they are, “with scarcely an exception”, all men of education; men who have undergone the same curriculum of study, the same test of proficiency, and who hold similar diplomas to the highest physician or surgeon in the Allopathic ranks. In fact, they are converts from the Allopathic theory; and though this BENIGN SYSTEM of medicine is designated by some people “Quackery”, there are, nevertheless, among its many professors but few practitioners who have not studied medicine in a regular school.
Regarded in this point of view, how far does it contrast with Allopathy. On every side that system is invaded by impostors, quacks, and secret medicine vendors; neither by-laws, registration, medical directories, nor acts of parliament, can shield the legitimate profession from non-qualified intrusion.
Homoeopathy, on the other hand, has no protection. It desires none. The difficulties which surround its studies are its best shelter from such invasion. Yet this doctrine, which upholds itself, being open on every side, and having no right to question any person designating himself its disciple, is free from taint and altogether unpolluted by empiricism.
Much laughter, however, has been expended upon the Homoeopathic practice; witticisms out of number have been levelled, not at the principle which forms the basis of the doctrine, but at the mode and amount of medicine administered in accordance with its law, concerning which the generality of the profession are too idle to inquire, or too ignorant to comprehend.
The globule, for instance, forms no essential part of Hahnemann’s theory, which simply implies that “like cures like”. The Homoeopathist may be true to his belief, and nevertheless deal with larger doses than are now customary with many general practitioners of the old or so-called orthodox school of medicine.
The medicines employed by the Homoeopathist are those used in common with all professors of medicine, only with this difference-that Homoeopathist have adopted nothing which time had not made a common property, but have introduced to the Materia Medica much which was previously unknown. Their opponents have testified to the worth of their discoveries. The Allopathists have accepted many of the medicines which the disciples of the great German physician first employed. Among these new remedies may be enumerated as drugs of general recognition, Aconite, Arnica, Belladonna, Nux Vomica, Rhus Toxicodendron, Arsenicum, Ipecacuanha, Gelseminum, Podophyllum, and many more.
The Homoeopathist uses his medicines as a means towards an end. His design is to cure his patient; and if he does not cure, at all events he desires not to kill. He consequently behaves according to a rule of conduct very generally adopted throughout society. Man does not fire off Armstrong guns to kill a gnat; not does he carry twigs to the saw-pit when he wishes sticks to be divided. No! Universally, mankind employs no more force than is required for the occasion. Why should the Homoeopathist violate so recognised a law? He surely is not to blame because he forces on his patient no unnecessary quantity of medicine; he gives that amount which will produce a desired effect, and avoids all unnecessary, large, or dangerous quantities.
Most patients complain that they have to swallow such huge draughts of nauseous mixtures. These potions are not always free from danger, neither are they always taken. Many stories are told of expensive medicines having been poured down the sink; and many cases are related of invalids who could have got well if the doctors would have allowed them.
The Homoeopathist avoids both of these evils; his medicines are not unpleasant, and never dangerous. He does not add to the risk necessarily attendant upon sickness; neither does he invariably excite the disgust of his patient, in whom such a revulsion may be very far from beneficial.
The Allopathist conscientiously does no more than he is instructed it is lawful to perform. When a lady is by him recognised as in what such gentlemen term “a delicate condition”, prudence then enjoins that the majority of these practitioners withhold all medicine. The fear of doing harm suppresses the promptings of interest and the dictates of activity; though the sufferer’s health, being “delicate,” or “poised,” as it were, between robustness and disease, naturally pleads for assistance and disease, naturally pleads for assistance. The sufferer may endure agonies; but the doctor calls to see her, and leaves her unrelieved. He dare not. Experience convinces him of the peril should he send the medicine-boy with the customary draughts, to be taken every four hours. Thus a lady approaches the season of “travail,” when her life is necessarily imperilled; weakened by a long succession of sleepless nights, and debilitated by months of torturing agony.
Now, for such a state the Homoeopathic theory holds forth the best hope of aid. The individual, when undergoing treatment, may not believe in its power to assist; but the action of Homoeopathic medicines, no more than of drastic purgatives, is entirely dependent upon personal credence. Both are governed by the results of experience; and he or she who has not been submitted to the trial of their efficacy, can possess no just right to laugh or sneer at the doctrine which embraces them. Homoeopathy does not, however, disregard such advantages as are to be gained by exercise, diet, residence, &c. Every practitioner knows the benefit which results from these; and before I enter more deeply into the subject, I intend briefly to touch upon each.
The uterus, when impregnated, necessarily drags at the back, and forces down the anterior walls of the abdomen. Ladies, conscious of this effect, often imagine themselves incapacitated from walking, and incapable of discharging the lightest of household duties. Females of this class generally pass the day wrapped closely up in shawls, and seated by the fire, either pondering over the distress of their condition, or feeding a morbid sensibility by perusing the latest novel. Would the person who by such means adds to the danger inseparable from her state, change her position, it is possible that by so doing, her sensations might be amended. The recumbent position removes the strain upon the abdominal muscles; it likewise relieves the parts which have been previously fatigued, and a sense of ease and comfort pervades the whole system.
After an hour spent reclining on a sofa, the lady possible might, to her surprise, feel inclined for a short and gentle walk. From this she probably would acquire a habit, and as time increases her burden, be able to endure more violent motion as the crisis approaches. This might enable her to strengthen herself by brisk exercise taken in the open air. There is not a more dangerous fallacy than that which induces ladies to imagine themselves necessarily invalids at a season when their safety depends upon the utmost exertion of a healthy body.
The poor being, by circumstances unable to gratify the fancies inseparable from an altered condition of body, generally passes through the hour of trial more safely than do the majority of the higher classes; as wealth increases, so does danger threaten. The house hold duties and the family attendants, not to mention the work which many poor women up to the latest hour have to perform, keep the muscles in a state of healthy vigour.
Pregnancy having commenced, the whole economy of nature undergoes a sudden and somewhat startling change. To bring this home to the reader, it is only necessary to imagine that, if other parts of the frame increased proportionately with the impregnated uterus, a lady would be surprised to find herself, after so brief a period as nine months, many times taller than St. Paul’s; yet the uterus, in this brief interval, doubles its dimensions no less than FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTEEN TIMES.
NOW, while such an alteration is occurring in one part of the body, it will scarcely be astonishing that other portions of the system should be doomed to suffer; so much has to be diverted from its natural and lawful channels; so much that was before appropriated to nourish and sustain the frame, has now to find fresh and new organisation, that it cannot be expected but that the system should feel the deprivation of that nutriment which, previously, was entirely appropriated to itself.