MEDICAL FACTS ABOUT PREGNANCY
1.1 Broad Perspectives in obstetrics
The word obstetrics is derived from the Latin term ' obstetrix' meaning 'midwife'; this is also associated with the verb “ obstare” which means to 'stand by' or to 'stand in front of a pregnant woman'. The much older term 'midwifery' was used instead of obstetrics until the latter part of the 19th century in both United States and Great Britain. Even today in England, the term 'midwifery' carries the same meaning as that of obstetrics.
We have however, come a long way from those periods. The word is now concerned principally, with the phenomena and the management of pregnancy, labour, and the puerperium (post delivery period), in both normal and abnormal circumstances. In a broader sense therefore, “obstetrics” is concerned with the phenomenon of reproduction in the society as a whole. With this perspective, obstetrical care, when appropriately practiced, should promote health and well-being, both physical and mental, among the couple and their offsprings and help them as well to develop healthy attitudes towards sex & family life as well as the place of the family in a society. Regretfully, this is rarely observed. A good practicing obstetrician should therefore be concerned with all the physiological, psychological, and social factors that profoundly influence both the quantity and the quality of human reproduction.
This is the sketch of a full term fetus, as shown in its mother’s womb in Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing. Incidentally this is one of the world’s first accurate rendering of a part of the human anatomy. The smaller sketches depict details of the uterus.