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ARABS AND OBSTETRICS

Posted by Arqustany Putra Saturday, November 21, 2009



Hynayn Ibn-Ishak (Joannitius, 809-873 A.D.) translated the work of the Greek pioneer in obstetrics, Paul of Aegina, into Arabic. Hunayn also translated to the Arabic world most of the work of Hippocrates, Galen, and Ptolemy. Moreover, he was a gifted physician and philosopher. Ali Ibn-Al- Abas Al-Majusi (Halle Abbas) who died in 994 A.D. was the first to describe in his book "Al-Kitab Al-Malaki" (The Royal Book) that the uterine contractions are the cause of delivery of the fetus (Keys 1971). Before him, it was thought that the uterine contractions were only as indication of the onset of labor; subsequently the fetus would swim its way out of the womb and birth canal.

Most of the deliveries were performed by midwives at home. For complicated obstetrics Al-Zahrawi offered advice to midwives as mentioned before, used fetal craniotomy for delivery of obstructed labor, and introduced the required instruments. The operation of cesarean section was described in 1010 in the Book of Kings by Abul Kasim Al-Firdaws (Speert 1973). It described cesarean section practiced on R'uda'ba, the mother of King Rustam at his birth. Another reference for cesarean section is written by Al-Biruni in his book, Al-Athar Al-Baliiyah dated 1307 A.D. (Hitti 1977) as shown in figure 9 which is preserved in the library of the University of Edingurgh (Hitti 1977).

Ibn-Al-Quff (1233-1305) is another physician who contributed to perinatology. He was born in Jordan (Hamameh 1971). In his book "Al-Jami", he presented original observations on embryology. He spoke of "... the formation of a foam stage in the first 6 to 7 days, which in 13 to 16 days, is gradually transformed into a clot and in 28 to 30 days into a small chunk of meat. In 38 to 40 days, the head appears separate from the shoulders and limbs. The brain and heart followed by the liver are formed before other organs. The fetus takes its food from the mother in order to grow and to replenish what it discards or loses ... There are three membranes covering and protecting the fetus, of which the first connects arteries and veins with those in the mothers womb through the umbilical cord. The veins pass food for the nourishment of the fetus, while the arteries transmit air. By the end of seven months, all organs are complete ... After delivery, the baby's umbilical cord is cut at a distance of four fingers breadth from the body, and is tied with fine, soft woolen twine. The area of the cut is covered with a filament moistened in olive oil over which a styptic to prevent bleeding is sprinkled ... After delivery, the baby is nursed by his mother whose milk is the best. Then the midwife puts the baby to sleep in a darkened quiet room... Nursing the baby is performed two to three times daily. Before nursing, the mother's breast should be squeezed out two or three times to get rid of the milk near the nipple". These findings of Ibn-Al-Quff, appear basic and fundamental, but seven hundred years ago, they were new and different.

Source: Ezzat Abouleish M.D
Contributions of Islam To Medicine

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