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Articles from Aids To Forensic Medicine And Toxicology

Inorganic Irritants

Potash Soda And Ammonia

Chlorate Of Potassium Etc

Carbolic Acid

Delivery

Rape

Death From Cold Or Heat

Evidences Of Live Birth

Hydrocyanic Acid

Inheritance


Pregnancy





The signs of the existence of pregnancy are of two kinds, uncertain and
certain, or maternal and foetal. Amongst the former class are
included--Cessation of menstruation (which may occur without pregnancy);
morning vomiting; salivation; enlargement of the breasts and of the
abdomen; quickening. It must be borne in mind that every woman with a
big abdomen is not necessarily pregnant. The tests which afford
conclusive evidence of the existence of a foetus in the uterus
are--Ballottement, the uterine souffle, intermittent uterine
contractions, foetal movements, and, above all, the pulsation of the
foetal heart. The uterine souffle is synchronous with the maternal
pulse; the foetal heart is not, being about 120 beats per minute.

Evidence of pregnancy may also be afforded by the discharge from the
uterus of an early ovum, of moles, hydatids, etc. Disease of the uterus
and ovarian dropsy may be mistaken for pregnancy. Careful examination is
necessary to determine the nature of the condition present. Pregnancy
may be pleaded in bar of immediate capital punishment, in which case the
woman must be shown to be 'quick with child.' A woman may also plead
pregnancy to delay her trial in Scotland, and both in England and
Scotland, in civil cases, to produce a successor to estates, to increase
damages for seduction, in compensation cases where a husband has been
killed, to obtain increased damages, etc. A woman may become pregnant
within a month of her last delivery.

In cases of rape and suspected pregnancy, it must be borne in mind that
a medical man who examines a woman under any circumstances against her
will renders himself liable to heavy damages, and that the law will not
support him in so doing. If, on being requested to permit an
examination, the woman refuse, such refusal may go against her, but of
this she is the best judge. The duty of the medical man ends on making
the suggestion.





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