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Bulletin of the History of Medicine Zur Erfahrungs- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte der Schwangerschaft, Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte, no. The History of the Unborn starts with a provocative thesis: They point out that the historical experience [End Page ] of "being laden" as a genuine physical evidence has been displaced today by scientific information about the biological development of the embryo.
The editors seek to historicize the present abstract concept of "2 in 1" in the same way that the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century concepts are historical. Consequently, the objectives of the book are to retrieve the lost perceptions of being laden, to record the construction of modern knowledge, and to relativize the present perception of the embryo as a being of one's own from the very moment of conception p.
The book begins with Barbara Duden's careful elaboration of the polymorphic shape of the unborn from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. In her view, anatomists, theologians, and philosophers shared a common view of the "hidden fruit" as sheltered by coverings. She describes the woman's perception of the "fruit" as a state of female physical evidence, and at the same time as not yet part of the factual world. Thus pregnancy was a state of uncertainty and hope.
The following nine articles outline how church, medicine, and state shifted their focus from the expectant mother toward the fetus.
Nadia Maria Filippini traces the conceptual replacement of the female experience of pregnancy by scientific anatomy, and the consequences of the change for the rise of cesarean birth in eighteenth-century Italy. Of special interest are two articles about the spiritualization of giving birth in the late seventeenth century.
Patrice Veit finds pleas for assistance in Protestant hymnals to support the expectant mother. However, Ulrike Gleixner points to the ambivalence of this reliance in considering Pietist families: Gleixner wonders whether this passiveness might have paved the way for the subservience of patients to modern medicine p.
Juergen Schlumbohm and Paul Herschkorn-Banu examine the influence of maternal hospitals and their collection of data. According to Herschkorn-Banu, uncertainty changed into calculated risk when Paul Dubois, obstetrician in the Paris maternity hospital since , collected data regarding the relation between the fetus's heartbeat and its health state.