On the Induction of Premature Labor — Modes of Effecting It
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
The following communication, received from Dr. H. R. Storer, will form a part of Prof. Simpson's forthcoming work, and is now for the first time published.-Eds.] A variety of means or plans have been proposed for the artificial induction of premature labor, in those various and important complications which are now so generally recognized by the obstetric profession as demanding this mode of operative interference. Thus it has been attempted to excite the uterus into parturient action-1. By
... nt action-1. By external abdominal frictions, so as to irritate its outer surface ; 2. By passing currents of electricity or galvanism through its walls ; 3. By irritating other, and even distant, parts or surfaces, as the vagina, rectum, or nipple, that are known to possess a marked reflex power over the contractility of the uterus ; 4. By the internal exhibition of ergot of rye and other oxytoxic remedies ; 5. By the evacuation of the liquor amnii ; 6. By the dilatation of the os uteri ; and, 7. By the separation of the membranes from the cavity of the cervix or body of the uterus by the finger, by instruments or sponges, or by the injection of fluids. The three first of these modes of inducing premature labor are -alone and singly-so very uncertain in their results, and so generally and entirely fail, that few or no accoucheurs place any confidence in them ;* and to the fourth the same objection applies, with this addition, that the ergot, even when it has succeeded, has proved too dangerous in its effects upon the child to be used in an * Several years ago I attended a case with Dr. Thatcher, in which we applied a child to the breast with the object of exciting pains. Some hours before, I had introduced a large spongetent into the os uteri. There was a wet-nurse in attendance to suckle our patient's infant as soon as it was born. It was the nurse's child which we applied to the nipples; and, as she thought, with the effect of increasing the uterine contractions and pains, which had already begun to appear. I have never, however, seen such an application of an infant to the nipples originate uterine contractions, nor in the two or three cases in which I have tried the plan of Schoeller and Braun, of distending and consequently irritating the walls of the vagina with masses of sponge or a dilating caoutchouc bottle, have I been at all successful in exciting the uterus to parturient action. I have not seen the abdominal frictions of D'Outrepont and Ulsamer tried.\p=m-\On Galvanism, see page 376.