[INDOLOGY] caesarean sections

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 17:46:52 UTC 2018

Hi, Robert!

No, cesarian delivery is not described in the early Ayurvedic literature.

There are detailed descriptions of prenatal and postnatal care as well as
delivery.  There is also an early (Suśruta) description of how to remove a
dead child from the mother's womb.  It is done with cutting and hooking
instruments via the birth canal.  The description is grim and sad, and one
of the only places in Ayurveda literature that mentions the use of an
anaesthetic (wine).  There is brief mention in the classic texts of the
surgical removal of a fetus through the abdomen, but only if the mother has

Good sources for general medical history questions like this include:

   - Priyadaranjan Ray and Hirendra Nath Gupta and Mira Roy. 1980. Suśruta
   Saṃhita (a Scientific Synopsis) . New Delhi: INSA. (The Archive:
   http://n2t.net/ark:/13960/t64511t6v <http://n2t.net/ark:/13960/t64511t6v>
   - Priyadaranjan Ray and Hirendra Nath Gupta. 1980. Caraka Saṃhita (a
   Scientific Synopsis) . 2nd ed. New Delhi: INSA. (
   and the old but still superb
   - Jolly, Julius. 1951. Indian Medicine, Translated from the German by C.
   G. Kashikar . Poona: C. G. Kashikar. (http://n2t.net/ark:/13960/t65491w39


Professor Dominik Wujastyk <http://ualberta.academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>

Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity

Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
University of Alberta, Canada

South Asia at the U of A:


On Fri, 12 Oct 2018 at 03:26, Robert Leach via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear list members,
> I ask on behalf of a friend of mine who works in the history of medicine
> and has little knowledge of South Asian medical history: can anyone share
> references to pre-modern (ideally pre-second millennium CE) descriptions of
> caesarean sections in South Asian literature?
> I'd be very grateful for any pointers...
> Many thanks in advance!
> Robert
> _______________________________________________
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