Ever since the clash of medicine and science, around the beginning of the last century, things have not been quite the same. How do I know? Because this excellent little book describes the far more exciting world of our medical ancestors, where protogastroenterologists were troubled by swallowed snakes and bellies full of frogs. Nascent orthopods argued over the exact previous owner of the latest giant's bones to be dug up, while your future obstetricians were likely to be bothered not by unpleasant looking tocographs but by a woman delivering her seventh rabbit.
On a similar theme, congenital defects were blamed on the mother's actions or desires during pregnancy. Though there were usually negative connotations, this could occasionally work in the woman's favour: a mother (successfully) blamed a painting in her bedchamber for her baby being a different colour to her husband.
At the other end of life, the Victorians' fear