Medicine: Pre-Birth Cry

Not all babies have the patience to hold off their wails till birth. Throughout history some restless infants were reported to have cried in the womb, but until relatively modern times doctors and midwives often thought it best not to publicize the fact lest they be accused of witchcraft. Last week in Britain's Lancet, a doctor described a latter-day occurrence of the phenomenon, known as vagitus uterinus (from the Latin vagire, to squall).

One of three attending doctors at Victoria Cottage Hospital in Sidmouth, England assisted a young mother in a difficult labor by passing his hand into the uterus to bring...

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