The child that cried in the womb

Remarkable news reaches The Medico-Chirurgical Review (June 1822) from Prussia: 

Crying of the Foetus in Utero.  A lady, during pregnancy, had experienced some distresses of mind, and had had several discharges of the liquor amnii.  In the eighth month of pregnancy while in bed, and while several of her friends and relations were supping in her bed-room, the cries of a child were distinctly heard by all present, under the bed-clothes.  The midwife being one of the party, and thinking that the child was suddenly born, desired the company to leave the room immediately, and the physician, who was in the house, to be summoned up.  The physician was in time to hear the cries also, which were now unequivocally distinct, in consequence of the bed-clothes being raised.  The os uteri was examined, but no dilatation had yet taken place.  The cries were now several times reiterated, and then ceased.  Labour came on a few hours afterwards, and the child was delivered; a considerable quantity of liquor amnii following the expulsion of the fetus.  The infant was very weak, and died a few hours afterwards.

The unnamed author acknowledges that

This curious physiological fact (if it be one) is as well authenticated as any thing supported on human testimony—at least medical testimony, can be.

This medical journalist would seem, however, to have a rather low opinion of the testimony of medics:

An explanation has been attempted on the supposition that when the waters escaped, previously to this extraordinary event, air had entered the cavity of the uterus, and thus enabled the foetus to exercise its vocal powers at a premature period.  But such explanation is invalidated by the considerable discharge of liquor amnii at the birth of the child.  In fine, notwithstanding the circumstantial evidence and the respectability of the parties concerned, we are forced to withhold our belief of the fact, or rather of the assertion above detailed.

One thought on “The child that cried in the womb”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.