By: Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee
This work examines classical Chinese medical literature to presents the various transformations for mother and developing infant during pregnancy. The discussion begins with Suwen chapter 1, which describes the unfolding of female fertility, then looks at descriptions of the pulses during pregnancy. A month-by-month description of pregnancy is given drawing specifically on the Zhubing Yuanhou Lun, the Mawangdui manuscripts, and the writings of Sun Simiao. Two later texts, the Qipolun and the Luxingjing, are particularly interesting because they present alternative and more unusual images of the developing fetus, and speak of the presence of the spirits (hun, po, and shen) in the fetus.
These ancient teachings are still valuable today for our understanding of the transformations of blood and qi which take place during the ten months of a pregnancy. The material will be of great help to those working with pregant woman or simply interested in the classical Chinese perception of women's health and fertility.