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On the signs of conception.

Further, one inquires into the signs of conception. And first, whether a woman may conceive soon after her cleansing.

And it seems not, because menses are required for conception. But the menses are diminished through the cleansing. Therefore, after her cleansing she will conceive more slowly.

The Philosopher says the opposite.

Second, one inquires whether after conception the interior opening of the vulva closes so much that a needle cannot enter the aperture.

1. It seems not. In each case when what is thicker can exit, then what is thinner can exit. But after conception the superfluities of the waste products and the filth exit. Therefore, so too do subtle things exit more forcibly.

2. In addition, the stomach does not close after it has received food, so that it cannot open later. This is made clear by both the food and drink that are taken in later and nevertheless enter the stomach. Therefore, the argument will be the same for the womb.

The Philosopher says the opposite.

Third, one inquires whether goose bumps [horripilatio] occur naturally after conception.

And it seems not. Because stiffness and goose bumps are nothing but the spread of bad material upon the members and especially upon the sensible members. But in pregnant women this matter is not spread, but is enclosed in the womb. Therefore, etc.

The Philosopher says the opposite.

Fourth, one inquires whether the urine ought to be thin and clear in a pregnant woman.

And it seems not, because darkness and cloudiness in the urine arise from the commingling of the humors and of the earthy parts. But in conception parts like these are in motion, and after conception these parts are in flux. And therefore, etc.

Similarly one can inquire why women who have been impregnated have an appetite so irrational that if they are lacking something from their desire they frequently miscarry.

To the first question one must reply that it is an emptied member's nature to attract and a full member's nature is to shun, and likewise it pertains to one that has been evacuated to incorporate and receive but this is not so for one that has been filled. Now then, the womb is a concave member, and for this reason, while it is filled with menstrual blood and with other superfluities, it can neither attract nor incorporate the seed; but after cleansing, because it is emptied, it attracts it, and because it has been evacuated, it incorporates it, and this is why she conceives more easily after cleansing.

To the argument one must reply that before cleansing the menses are so superfluous that they cannot be retained by the womb, and they are required for conception because they can close the womb's opening, something that could not occur if it were not first dried out.

To the second question one must reply that the more something desires, the more it attracts, and the more it attracts, the more it retains what has been attracted. And because a woman who has been cleansed has a great desire, she therefore attracts a great deal, and as a result she strives especially to retain, and this is why after conception the opening of the womb is immediately closed. Therefore, conception is a sign that it has closed.

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that the opening of the womb is double: one internal and another external. The internal one is closed, and it is not opened naturally until the fetus is formed. But the external opening is open, and through it superfluities that she does not need (for example, urine and the like) can exit. Nevertheless, the superfluities that remain, like sperm and semen, exit only through the internal orifice.

2. To the second argument one must reply that the womb's appetite and ability to receive are greater than the stomach's, and the womb's ability to receive and that of the stomach have a different intensity, and this is why the argument does not prove the conclusion.

To the third question one must reply that when a person lives in fear and stress, then the natural heat and spirit cross from the exterior parts to the interior ones, and then the exterior parts are abandoned just as if they were left deprived of nature's control, and this is why they experience goose bumps and fear. So the proposition is correct. After conception the heat returns to the interior for the digestion of the semen and for the fashioning of the embryo or the formation of the fetus, and then the exterior members seem to be deprived of nature's control and then very often goose bumps occur.

And in this way a solution to the argument is evident. Because goose bumps can arise in two ways: either from the spread of bad, putrid matter over the interior sensible members, as in those suffering fever, or owing to the flight of the natural heat to the interior, as in the proposition.

To the fourth question one must reply that after conception the mouth of the womb is closed, and then nothing exits from it. And this is why dryness around the womb's orifice is one sign of conception, because this is an indication that the womb has received and absorbed all the sperm and retains what it has received, and this is why the urine is rendered clear immediately after conception but at the end, when the fetus is struggling to exit and the menses begin to flow, then the urine will be more turbid and cloudy on the surface, since this cloud on the surface attests to the inchoate digestion of matter.

To the last question one must reply that after conception part of the menstrual blood is borne to the mouth of the stomach and moves the stomach's appetite, and this is why it creates irrational desires in her. For just as in insane people a vapor ascending to the brain makes them imagine irrational things, so in the same way the menstrual blood ascending to the stomach creates irrational desires in her. And in addition to this, a pregnant woman has an appetite not only for herself but also for the fetus, whereas a man or a woman who is not pregnant has an appetite only for himself or herself. And this is why pregnant women sometimes want to eat charcoal or potter's clay and desire it a great deal. And if they are without something they desire, then they begin to despair, and, on account of this, nature withholds aliment from the fetus, and this is why very often she miscarries.

 
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