Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 29 On the Bones Which Are Attached to the Sides of the Sacrum

The difference between the attachment of bones to the sacrum in men and women

It should by no means be thought on account of vulgar opinion 59 that the pubic bones are continuous in men but attached with cartilage in women so they may be loosened and detached from each other in time of childbirth. When women give birth (as with quadrupeds) these bones are not detached from each other; but they do have this special feature in the union of these bones, that their bones are not attached along such a long line as men’s. Moreover, the lower parts of the hipbones [os ischii], both left and right, are farther apart from each other in women than in men. When the lowest parts of the pubic bones [ramus inferior ossis pubis] are pulled apart beneath their meeting place, they are separated and stand apart 60 much more in women than in men. Thus in the bones of women there is an empty area between the coccyx and the inner regions of the lowest hipbones much larger than occurs in men. This difference is so marked as clearly to show by itself that the bones of the pubis are not opened up in childbirth — it is attested by touch during parturition, though it is not easily felt. Animals with tails also demonstrate clearly how much the coccyx (G, H, I, K in figs. 1 and 3, ch. 18 and N in skeletons 1 and 2) aids in expanding this wide area still more when giving birth; but it is also possible to observe this in women whose coccyx is so extended outward like a tail that among all the nations I have seen chairs are fitted to them because of this bone by having a round hole cut in them. For this reason, most women give birth better when resting on their knees and bending forward somewhat, as it is more difficult for them in an erect or backwardly reclined position. 61 This is the provision Nature has made for women in expelling the fetus. In order that


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they may carry the uterus more lightly and easily, the iliac bones are much wider in women, and their spine (L in figs. 1, 3 and R, R in figs. 1, 2) [crista iliaca] is extended to the sides much farther than in men; also, those bones are markedly hollowed on the outside. In a word, these form a convenient place for carrying a fetus. I believe it is a secret to no student of anatomy that in no race are the pubic bones either pressed together or separated in newborn girls for the sake of easier parturition, 62 regardless of the stubbornness with which popular opinion makes this claim about one nation or another.



Book One -- The things that sustain and support the entire body, and what braces and attaches them all. [the bones and the ligaments that interconnect them] | Chapter 29 On the Bones Which Are Attached to the Sides of the Sacrum