African American women are more likely to die during pregnancy
Maternal death rate said to exceed that in Sub-Sahara
William Covington OW Contributor | 5/3/2018, midnight
According to Dr. Katherine Bankole-Medina, the above cesarean section took place in the late 1870’s in Central Africa. Reports of C sections being performed by a male however usually females performed the procedure.
During the procedure, highly polished iron needles and surgical thread (derived from tree bark) was utilized while an oral anesthetic and topical solution were made from botanical herbs
“So far as I know, Uganda is the only country in Central Africa where abdominal section is practiced with the hope of saving both mother and child,” Bankole-Medina wrote in a medical journal. “The operation is performed by men, and is sometimes successful. At any rate, one case in 1879 in Kahura came under my observation. The patient was a fine healthy-looking young woman of about 20 years of age. This was her first pregnancy. The woman lay upon an inclined bed, the head of which was placed against the side of the hut. She was liberally supplied with banana wine, and was in a state of semi-intoxication.
Rare glimpse at ancient practices
“She was perfectly naked. A band of mbuga or bark cloth fastened her thorax to the bed, another band of cloth fastened down her thighs, and a man held her ankles. Another man, standing on her right side, steadied her abdomen. The operator stood, as I entered the hut, on her left side, holding his knife aloft with his right hand, and muttering an incantation. This being done, he washed his hands and the patient’s abdomen, first with banana wine and then with water. Then, having uttered a shrill cry, which was taken up by a small crowd assembled outside the hut, he proceeded to make a rapid cut in the middle line, commencing a little above the pubes, and ending just below the umbilicus. The whole abdominal wall and part of the uterine wall were severed by this incision, and the liquor amnii escaped; a few bleeding-points in the abdominal wall were touched with a red-hot iron by an assistant.
“The operator next rapidly finished the incision in the uterine wall; his assistant held the abdominal walls apart with both hands, and as soon as the uterine wall was divided he hooked it up also with two fingers. The child was next rapidly removed, and given to another assistant after the cord had been cut, and then the operator, dropping his knife, seized the contracting uterus with both hands and gave it a squeeze or two. He next put his right hand into the uterine cavity through the incision, and with two or three fingers dilated the cervix uteri from within outwards. He then cleared the uterus of clots and the placenta, which had by this time become detached, removing it through the abdominal wound.
His assistant tried, but not very successfully, to prevent the escape of the intestines through the wound. The red-hot iron was next used to check some further hemorrhage from the abdominal wound, but I noticed that it was very sparingly applied. All this time, the chief “surgeon” was keeping up firm pressure on the uterus, which he continued to do till it was firmly contracted. No sutures were put into the uterine wall. The assistant who had held the abdominal walls now slipped his hands to each extremity of the wound, and a porous grass mat was placed over the wound and secured there. The bands which fastened the woman down were cut, and she was gently turned to the edge of the bed, and then over into the arms of assistants, so that the fluid in the abdominal cavity could drain away on to the floor.