Observations placeholder

Hack Tuke, Daniel – Sickness - Miscarriage and protracted childbirth induced by powerful emotions – Fear and Anxiety



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

As described in Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,


Uterus and its Appendages. — Under -this head we shall only refer to the fact familiar to every general practitioner,— the influence of violent emotion in causing miscarriage, and of arresting uterine contraction in labour. Hence, if an accoucheur leave his patient and another take his place, the progress of labour is generally impeded ; uterine contraction ceasing for hours. Yet medical men often strangely forget the importance of avoiding unpleasant mental impressions under such circumstances. I have known an accoucheur, devoted to natural history, improve the occasion by coolly bringing out of his pocket an adder which he had just secured in one of his country walks. I believe the patient did not find the exhibition so useful as to make her particularly desire to have the same medical attendant again.

In a case recorded by Professor Laycock (A Treatise on the Nervous Diseases of Women. By Dr. Laycock, p. 112), Attention and emotional excitement combined, brought on uterine pains in a female, set. 48, who was attending her daughter during a very tedious labour.

Dr. Gooch records the case of a lady whom he attended, who with great difficulty was persuaded to marry, in consequence of an imagination that she would certainly die should she become pregnant.

Such was the influence of this apprehension upon the course of the labour, that, in spite of all the encouragement Dr. Gooch gave her, it interfered with its progress in so marked a manner as to protract it to a period of thirty-six hours.

The death of the Princess Charlotte, acting on the imagination of women similarly circumstanced, injuriously retarded labour in many instances. Dr. Gooch's practical conclusion is, "In this state of mind we must keep up the spirits of our patient, both during pregnancy and at the time of labour, by anecdotes of the most favourable accouchements of those who have entertained equal apprehensions, and by every species of encouragement in our power" ("A Practical Compendium of Midwifery," p. 181).

The source of the experience

Hack Tuke, Daniel

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