Looking for something? Start here.
Custom Search




« Big Baby Denied Insurance: Infant in 99th Percentile Considered "Obese" | Proactive Support of Labor »

The Compleat Midwife's Practice (1659)

Share on Facebook


This antiquarian book is available on Ebay for just under $10,000.




CONTENTS: (Typed in Old English as written in contents pages)

* Certain Instructions, grounding upon practical observations, fit to be known by all Midwives, and Child-bearing Women, etc. [page] p. 1.

* A second observation of a Woman that had been in Travel nine dayes. p. 5.

* Of a woman here in Town, that bare her Child eleven moneths, and could not be Delievered. p. 6.

* Of the common opinion, that a woman seven moneths gone, ought to walk very much; and of the accidents that happen thereby. p.8.

* Of a child which they thought sick of the Epilepsie, occasioned by the sicknesse of the Mother; and of the cause. p. 12.

* Of a young woman, who being struck upon the belly by her Husband with his foot, was in great pain, and could not be brought to bed without the help of a Chirurgion (Surgeon). p. 13.

* Of two Delieveries of one woman. p. 14.

* Of a woman that because she would not be ruled in her lying in, died. p. 16.

* Of certain women that bear children, and lye in before their time, and others at their full time, who grow big, and full of humours which causeth the death of the child presently after their Delivery, their children being nourished in their bellies like fish, onely with water. p. 18.

* The observation of a woman who was thought unable to bear any more Children, yet contrary to expectation, was delivered of one, and the reason thereof. p. 19.

* A good observation in the choice of Nurses. P. 20.

* Of a woman which I laid two several times, and of the difference of her bearing of two children, proceeding from several causes. p. 22.

* Instruction of a famous, and dying Midwife to her Daughter, touching the practice of this Art. p. 24.

* Of the Genitals or Vessels dedicated to Generation in men or women. p. 35.

* Of the vessels of preparation. p. 36.

* Of the Parastate or vessels where the blood is first changed. p. 37.

* The use of the preparing vessels. p. 38

* Of the Testicles in general. p. 39.

* Of the Tunicles of the stones. p. 40.

* Of the suspensory Muscles. p. 41.

* Of the substance and temper of the stones. p. 42.

* Of the actions of the Testicles. p. 44.

* Of the utility of the Testicles, and their parts. p. 45.

* Of the vessel that casteth forth the seed. p. 47.

* Of the Seminary Bladders. p. 49.

* Of the Kernelly Prostatae, or forestanders. p. 49.

* Of the structure of the yard. p. 50.

* Of the several parts, constituting the Yard. p. 53.

* Of the action of the Yard. p. 56.

* Of the use of the Yard in general. p. 57.

* Of the use of the parts constituting the Yard. p. 58.



* Of the Genitals of women. p. 60.

* Of those parts called Mymphs and Clytoris.

* Of the fleshly knobs, and the greater neck of the womb. p. 61.

* Of the Hymen. p. 63.

* Of the vessels that run through the neck of the womb.

* Of the fabrick of the womb. p. 65.

* Of the preparing vessels in women. p. 68.

* Of the stones in women. p. 69.

* Of the different or ejaculatory. p. 71.

* Of the actions and uses of the Genital parts in women. p. 72.

* Of the actions of the Clytoris. p. 73.

* Of the action and use of the neck of the womb.

* Of the uses of the vessels running through the neck of the womb. p. 74.

* Of the actions of the womb.

* Of the utility of the womb. p. 75.

* Of the utility of the preparing vessels in women. p. 76.

* Of the utility of the stones.



* Of the signs of conception. p. 78.

* Whether she hath conceived a Male. p. 80.

* Whether a Female.

* Of the conception of Twins. p. 81.

* Of false conception. p. 82.

* How women with child ought to govern themselves. p. 88.

* How to govern themselves in the time of their going with child. p. 91.



* Of the mixture of the seed of both sexes, as also of its substance and form. p. 95.

* Of the three tunicles which the birth is wrapt in, in the womb. p. 96.

* Of the true generation of the parts, and the increase of them, according to the several dayes and seasons. p. 97.

* Of the nourishment of the birth in the womb. p. 101.

* Of the condition of the infant in the womb, in the sixth, seventh, and eighth moneth. p. 103.



* Of the situation of the child in the womb. p. 104.



* Of Midwives. p. 109.

* What ought to be observed when she is near the time of her lying down. p. 110.

* How to expel the Chollick from women in child-bed. p.113.

* How the Midwife may know when the pains of Travel do seize a woman.

* Of the falling down of the waters, a good while before the woman Travels. p. 114.

* What the Midwife ought to do in time of Travel. p. 116.

* How to draw forth the Secondines. p. 117.

* What may be given to a woman in Travel. p. 118.

* How to put the womb again in its place. p. 119.

* Against the extream losse of blood, which happens to women immediately after their Delivery. p. 120.

* What is to be done to a woman presently after her Delivery. p. 121.

* Of women that have a great deal of blood, and purge not neither in their Travel, nor after. p. 123.

* For those who have but a little blood. p. 124.

* What is to be done to the Infant. p. 125.

* How to govern women in child-bed. p. 126.

* Of the bathings that a woman is to use for the first eight dayes of her lying-in. p. 127.

* How a woman ought to govern her self, in case she be to be delivered of two children. p. 128.

* Of the danger that a woman hath to purge her self for the first dayes of her lying in. p. 129.

* Of the second washing for women. p. 130.

* What is to be done to infants as soon as they are born. p.

* Of the last washing for women. p. 133.

* Of an Astringent for women when they shall have occasion.

* To make searcloths for women.

* To cleanse a woman before she rises. p. 134.

* How a woman Lying-in of her first child, may avoid the gripings of her belly.

* The Queen of France her Receipt. p. 181.

* Certain precepts hindering the delay and difficulty of bringing forth.

* How the Secondines are to be hastened out. p. 139.

* Pills for the purpose. p. 142.

* Of Cases of Extremity; and first, what is to be done to a woman, who in her Travel is accompanied with a flux of blood, and with convulsions. p. 143.

* Of ordering the woman after she is delivered. p. 159.

* What is to be done to the breast, belly, and lower parts of the woman in Child-bed. p. 161.

* An Ointment.

* An Ointment to keep the milk from clotting. p. 162.

* A fomentation much commended. p. 163.

* Of the choice of a good Nurse. p. 165.

* What is to be done in the extream parts of a Child. p. 166.

* What is to be done to such children as are troubled with flegme. p.

* What is to be done to children that have their Cods full of wind. p. 167.

* How to take away the canker out of the Infants mouth. p. 168.

* What is to be done to children whose intestines are fallen.

* To make an ointment to strengthen thighs and legs of a childe, and make him goe. p. 169.

* Of the relaxations of the Matrix, and the cause. p. 170.

* Of a disease that happens by reason of the fall of the Matrix. 172.

* To remedy the fall of the fundament in Infants. p. 173.

* Of the diseases of women, and first of the inflammation of the breast.

* Of windy Tumours in the breast. p. 179.

* Of the watry tumour in the breasts. p. 182.

* Of the kernell in the breast. p. 185.

* Of the Scirrhus of the breasts. p. 187.

* Of the canker in the breasts. p. 190.

* Of the greatnesse of the breasts. p. 192.

* Of the defect, abundance, and coagulation of the Milk. p. 193.

* Of the Diseases of the neck of the womb: and first of the disease called Tentigo. p. 195.

* Of the narrownesse of the neck of the womb. p. 196.

* Of wheals, condilomas of the womb, and of Hemorrhoids. p. 198.

* Of the Ulcers of the neck of the womb. p. 200.

* Of the womb being out of temper. p. 203.

* Of the narrownesse of the vessels of he womb. p. 206.

* Of the puffing up of the womb. p. 207.

* Of the inflammation of the womb. p. 210.

* Of the scirrhus of the womb. p. 213.

* Of the Dropsie of the womb. p. 214.

* Of the falling of the womb. p. 126.

* Of the ascent of the Matrix, as also of the wounds and ulcers of the same. p. 218.

* Of the pain of the womb. p. 221.

* Of the suppression of the flowers. p. 222.

* Of the dropping of the flowers, and the difficulty of their coming down. p. 227.

* Of the discolouring of the flowers. p. 229.

* Of the inordinate flux of the flowers. p. 230.

* Of the over-abundance of the Courses. p. 232.

* Of the Whites and Gonorrhea in women. p. 235.

* Of the Green-sicknesse. p. 237.

* Of the suffocation of the Matrix. p. 238.

* Of barrennesse. p. 242.

* Of bringing up of children, and their Diseases. p. 247.

* Of the Diseases of the head.

* Bignesse and swelling of the head in little children. p. 249.

* Of the Diseases of the eyes, ears and noses, in children. p. 251.

* Of certain Ulcers in childrens mouths. p. 252.

* Of certain other tumors called paroulis, and Espoulis. p. 253.

* Of the two strings under the tongue of a child. p. 254.

* Of the coughing of children.

* Of breeding teeth. p. 255.

* Of the inflammation of the Navel-string in Infants. p. 256.

* Of the worms.

* Of the convulsion in Infants. p. 257.

* Of the swelling of the Hypocondria in Infants. p. 259.

* Of costivenesse in children.

* Of loosnesse in children. p. 260.

* Of burstnesse in children.

* Of the inflamation of the Navel. p. 262.

* Of the jutting forth of the Navel.

* Of the stone in the bladder. p. 263.

* Of the not holding of the Urine.

* Of the Intertrigo. p. 264.

* Of Leannesse.

* Of the difficulty that children have to make water. p. 265.

* Of the inflammation of the Almonds of the ears. p. 266.

* Of vomiting.

* Of the Hicquet. p. 267.

* Of the pain of the belly of children.

* Of the Small pox in children. p. 268.


CONTENTS OF THE SUPPLY (Second book in rear of volume)

* Of the generative seed, its beginning, and particularly of the four concoctions. p. 273.

* The generation of man compared with the production of plants. p. 277.

* By what means Parents may get wise children. p. 280.

* The signs of the several degrees of hot and dry in a man. p. 285.

* What women to marry; with what men, to have children. p. 286.

* How Males gotten, and not Females; and contrary. p. 288.

* How to preserve childrens wit, when formed. p. 292.

* Further considerations of the gradual progress of the births formation in the womb. p. 299.

* The Notes of Virginity, whether violable, but by man. p. 302.

* Whether there may a mutation of Sexes, and Hermaphrodites. p. 305.











Bookmark and Share       

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (14)

If I had 9,500 dollars, I would totally buy this book!!!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKayce

I want to know about this section!
:How women with child ought to govern themselves. p. 88.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

Those illustrations are priceless! Especially the "fetuses" in utero. What is #5 up to, exactly?

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDou-la-la

Wow! So interesting! I would LOVE to have this book.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermichele


The fetuses were my favorite. I kept giggling. #5 is ready to take down another fetus on the wrestling mat and put them into a half nelson. Only it's Old English so it's a Halfe Nelsone.

October 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Oh, I can feel my womb being out of temper!

When I read old obstetric textbooks, I realize that most doulas know more now than most family drs knew 70 years ago. Unfortunately all the science we have now has made things worse for women and babies. The only two things that have ever been scientifically proven to help women and their babies are 1. improving nutrition and 2. improving social support. Those are the two things that big-brained science types refuse to do.

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGloria Lemay

#5 looked like a sumo wrestler stomping out onto the mat to me! #9 looks tremendously uncomfortable, like he is doing a belly flop. That seems to be the most "oh crap" illustration on those pages of "oh crap" presentations.

I swooooooooooooooon. I read every word! I love old language like this. It makes me giggle and at the same time it's sooo interesting to me!

October 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJill


One of the most entertaining criticisms of the less-is-more attitude about childbirth is that it's a rejection of Science and Technology with a capital "s" and "t" and therefore backward. Watching people getting enraged trying to argue that the variety of technological and pharmaceutical interventions are always superior is one of my sources of amusement in life, especially when the arguments are made by dogmatic and fundamentalist-sounding supporters of what they call science.

It's funny to me because no one is really arguing for the true science behind childbirth. They are turning red in the face trying to say that doctors as the administrators of technology are always right, always trustworthy, always the providers of privileged and authoritative information and always the source of superior judgment. It's like a fundamentalist religion that can't be questioned and that's when I get really amused.

I know that some people have their identity tied up in being a medical provider or need to assert dominance and superiority and do that by defending medical practice in the way that some people hold up a bible and scream at anyone who sees things differently. I can see that it's really, really vital to their mental and emotional wellbeing to rage at anyone who is skeptical of the necessity of the extreme application of technology, drugs and mechanical intervention to the physiological process of childbirth.

I love that we in the richer countries have access to these services that so many women in the world do not. I feel grateful quite often for this safety net of emergency services.

I probably shouldn't laugh at people who scream that women should just bow to the powerful doctor's judgment and who yell the benefits of standardizing childbirth through technology. It just makes me smile because their arguments almost always fall flat, often because of the horse blinders that prevent them from acknowledging that many "complications" of birth are purely iatrogenic and medical judgment is not and never has been solely and altruistically in the best interest of the patient. It couldn't be-- doctors are only human.

October 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Jill, you're quite accurately describing a contentious & more than slightly loopy relative of mine, there. You might have seen her hounding me mercilessly on Facebook until about 2 weeks ago when she abruptly and mysteriously dropped off the face of the internet. I just know that she's lying in wait for an ambush, and as soon as I relax, she'll pounce again . . .

Anyway. Well-put.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDou-la-la

Okay, i was reading through these again, and was intrigued about what exactly they say about this: "Of the actions of the Clytoris". I'm kind of impressed that they identified it at all. I always irrationally thought of it as kind of a 20th century discovery, though I suppose I'm being chronologically chauvinistic about it, I guess. And does anyone know what the heck a "Mymph" is?

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDou-la-la
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.