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because, both in pregnant women and nurses who give fuck, the menfes are naturally wanting: In the firft they are confumed by its growth in the womb; in the last by milk drawn from the breafts, thus depriving the conftitution of a confiderable quantity of that nourishing fluid which otherwise would have been converted into blood, fo as to produce the periodical discharge.

No other fatisfactory reafon can be affigned, why the monthly evacuation should come on at the age of maturity, and cease in the decline of life; or even why did it not appear in the infant ftate and continue periodically even to extreme old age; feeing that the structure of the womb, and diftribution of its veffels, are nearly alike in both. ̈ It has, indeed, been afferted, that before maturity the blood is gradually consumed by the growth of body; but this is too fuperficial a reafon to deserve attention, beD 4 caufe

cause the body continues growing long after menftruation,

From thofe circumftances, it becomes manifeft, that the first appearance of the menfes denotes the age of maturity, and shews that the female is in a capacity to produce her fpecies according to the ftated law of nature; and agreeable to this obfervation, women have feldom been known to conceive before their commencement, or after their total ceffation. When they bring forth children at a very late or early period, they are ufually unhealthy, fhort lived, and like untimely fruit robb❜d of its nourishment, wither and die before they arrive at maturity. The fame defect may be obferved in the feminal principle of vegetables, for their unripe feed will never produce vigorous plants.

In this country the periodical discharge generally comes on about the age of fifteen, and in healthy fubjects returns every twentyeight

eight or twenty-nine days; that is every lunar month, till about the age of forty five; but its long or fhort duration chiefly depends on the date of its first commencement; for in proportion to its early appearance, it goes off the fooner, and so on the contrary. It ufually continues for the fpace of three or four days, the quantity then evacuated varying confiderably in different women, according to their age, climate, difference of conftitution, and manner of living,

In the warm fouthern climates of France, Portugal and Italy, I obferved it came on at a more early period, and was more regular and profufe than in colder countries. In the icy regions of Lapland, we are told, that many women only menftruate in fummer. In the first of those places they begin to breed much fooner, and are more fruitful than in the laft. It has been remarked of old, that the Scythian women were often

barren.

barren, because they had so small a quantity of the menfes; and for the fame reason those of Greenland are feldom very prolific, having ufually no more than two or three children, but oftener, one or two, and frequently none at all. Hence it may be observed, that animal, as well as vegetable bodies, are confiderably influenced by the nature of the climate where they are produced.

Conformable to those observations, we find that women in our own country, being irregular or obftructed, are either barren, or bring forth a puny race of children; and on the contrary, those who have a more copious and regular flow of menfes, are generally fruitful, and bleffed with a numerous and healthy offspring.

The prudent conduct of women, at this critical juncture, when a kind of revolu tion is brought about in the constitution, is of the utmost importance to their own future health, as well as that of their off

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fpring;

fpring; the very production and well being of which depend upon the due returns, and a fufficient quantity of the pe. riodical discharge.

The following fymptoms of the monthly indifpofition will beft point out the time when fuch cautions are proper and neceffary. A few days before, the breasts grow larger, the patient has pains in her loins, with a sense of weight and fulness in the uterine region. Sometimes a giddinefs of the head with retchings attend, and I have feen inftances, where hyf terical symptoms alfo prevailed. But although thofe and many other complaints of the like nature are troublesome to women at this period, they ufually go off on the first appearance of the difoharge.

Women at this time fhould avoid as much as poffible, all fuch caufes as difturb the body or mind. The bowels and feet in particular should be kept warm, and care taken

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