Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 2: Dia-Ins
Person:
Todd, Robert Bentley
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/image/lit25760/483/
f 
GENERATION. 
the foetus or its coverings during pregnancy. 
So also we can understand that any violent 
affection of the mind of a pregnant woman, in 
so far as it tends to derange the bodily func¬ 
tions, may produce some effect on the nutrition 
of the child. 
Some contagious diseases pass from the mo¬ 
ther to the child in utero. Syphilis and small¬ 
pox may be mentioned as those the effects of 
which have been most frequently observed.* 
Typhous fever, on the other hand, is said rarely 
to affect the child. We know also that severe 
affections of the mother may cause the death of 
the child, and its premature expulsion or abor¬ 
tion. According to Hausmann, the effect of 
variations of the external atmosphere is visible in 
the unusual number of blind colts and hydro¬ 
cephalic pigs which are born after a wet sum¬ 
mer. Malformations of the foetus of birds have 
been artificially produced by external injuries 
and altered position of the eggs during incuba¬ 
tion. f The transmission to the child of the 
effects of chemical poisons taken by the mother 
has also been observed ; but in all the foregoing 
the effect of the injury has been more or less 
general ; and there is no sufficient reason to 
conclude from them that a particular impres¬ 
sion on the mind of the mother is capable of 
producing physical injury, or a particular de¬ 
formity in one or other of the organs of the 
foetus. 
A vague notion is entertained by some that a 
l certain influence is exerted by the hen or other 
bird on the eggs that they incubate, by which 
the qualities of the progeny are modified. But 
we must observe that hereditary resemblances 
are preserved in artificial incubation without 
the hen ; and although we are disposed to ad¬ 
mit that the female bird incubates its eggs with 
an instinctive care and perfection that art can 
rarely imitate, we are exceedingly sceptical as 
to the possibility of any other secret influence 
from the oviparous mother to its offspring 
once the eggs have left the body ; and the 
i attempt to support the theory of imagination by 
this opinion is an explanation of the obscurum 
per obscurius. 
Were it possible to separate the better authen¬ 
ticated from the more fanciful relations of the 
effects of the mother’s imagination, or to select 
those instances only in which the impression 
on the mind of the mother had been carefully 
noted before the birth of the child, we might 
expect in some degree to be able to free this 
question from the falsity and prejudice which 
obscures it. But such a separation we believe 
to be impossible, and we have therefore re¬ 
solved to enumerate shortly some of the more 
remarkable cases taken at random, \ from which 
* In reference to this, it is an interesting circum¬ 
stance that the child is affected with small-pox 
some time after the mother, as if the contagion had 
taken the same time to operate as it does in passing 
between two persons. 
f As in Geoffory St. Hilaire’s experiments, which, 
the author has more than once repeated with a si¬ 
milar result. 
i From Burdach’s Physiologie, B. ii. and from a 
talented Refutation of the Doctrine of the Imagina- 
we think the reader will best be able to _ 
what value or faith is to be attached to the facts 
now under consideration. 
In a certain number of these cases we are 
told that an injury of an organ in the mother 
causes a similar injury in a corresponding part 
of the child’s body ; as in the following ex¬ 
amples. , 
1. A cow killed by the blow of a hatchet is 
found pregnant of a foetus with a bruise on the 
same place of the forehead. 
2. The same was the case with the young one 
of a hind that had been shot. 
3. A pregnant cat which had had its tail 
trodden on bore five young, in four of which 
the tail was similarly wounded. 
4. A woman bitten on the pudenda by a dog 
bore a boy having a wound of the glans penis. 
This boy suffered from epilepsy, and when the 
fits came on during sleep was frequently heard 
to call aloud, “ the dog bites me ! ” There 
are other similar cases on record. 
5. A pregnant woman walking with a friend 
has her head knocked violently against her 
friend’s, and shortly afterwards bears twins, 
which are joined together by the foreheads. 
6. A gentlewoman who was cut for rupture 
in the groin during her pregnancy, bears a boy 
having a large scar in the same region, which 
he bore for thirty years afterwards. 
The injuries of others operating on the ima¬ 
gination of the mother may affect the structure 
of the child : thus— 
7. A woman who was suddenly alarmed by 
seeing her husband come home with one side 
of his face swollen and distorted by a blow, 
bears a child (a girl) with a purple swelling 
covering the forehead, nose, &c. of the same 
side. 
8. A child is born with hare-lip, which was 
caused by the mother’s frequently seeing a 
child with the same deformity during her preg¬ 
nancy. 
9. A mother seeing a criminal broke upon 
the wheel, bears an idiot child, of which the 
bones are similarly broken. 
10. A woman seeing a person in an epileptic 
fit brings forth a child which is subject to 
epilepsy. 
11. A lady in London, who is frightened by 
a beggar presenting the stump of an arm to her, 
bears a child wanting a hand. 
12. A child is born with its head pierced, 
in consequence of its mother having seen a 
man run through the body with a sword. 
13. A woman is forced to be present at the 
opening of a calf by the butcher. She after¬ 
wards bears a child with all the bowels hang¬ 
ing out of the abdomen. This woman was at 
the time of the accident aware that something 
was going wrong in the womb. 
14. A similar misfortune happened to the 
child of another woman, who was imprudent 
enough to witness the disembowelling of a pig 
during her pregnancy. 
tionists, by Dr. Blundell, of London. Professor 
Burdach, we may remark, is inclined to adopt the 
belief.
        

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