This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
It is generally conceded that the disorders that complicate the state of gestation are purely functional in character, but it is important to bear in mind that a functional disorder (so-called) always implies a physical change, however minute or microscopic this may be, and that a functional disorder or disease, if neglected long enough, may lead into an organic condition, and that the timely administration of psychotherapy to correct the functional disorder may prevent its resulting in a gross pathological disease.
Psychotherapy is of value in the prophylaxis and treatment of the functional and neuropathic manifestations that annoy the expectant mother just in proportion as we are enabled to exert an influence upon her habits of thought and action, both conscious and subconscious.
Each time the physician comes into her presence he has the opportunity to make such impressions upon her brain plasm as will give rise to emotions, thoughts, and feelings, which are of unquestionable therapeutic value on the one hand, and that will lead to habits that are conducive to both physical and mental well-being on the other.
What most of our expectant mothers need is education, knowledge, and guidance - other names for honest; truthful suggestion - and not instruction in the pathology of possible diseases that may arise from functional disorders accompanying the state of gestation.
A comprehensive understanding of the pathology of the more serious diseases of pregnancy on the part of the physician is of unquestionable value, but such knowledge is always detrimental when in the possession of the patient. So, while duly appreciating a knowledge of the pathology of such diseases, what is of far greater importance to the patient is that the physician be qualified to so manage her psychologically and physically as to prevent the occurrence of such diseases.
Take the expectant mother into your confidence, and give her a plain, common-sense talk of such character as will dispel her morbid self-consciousness and give her something wholesome to think about, and tell her what to do to maintain a condition of physical and mental well-being during the state of gestation.
The creative power of the imagination as a reliable, potent factor in bringing the ideal into actualization has been repeatedly emphasized by our ablest psychologists, and as a therapeutic resource this psychological fact is appreciated today as never before in the history of medicine.
We can by suggestion, or by mental pictures impressed upon the brain plasm of a patient who has sufficient confidence in us to seek our aid, encourage the functional activity of every cell of her organism, and do so in such a humane, natural manner as can but evoke the appreciation of our patient. Moreover, we quiet her nervousness, assuage her fears, dispel her gloomy forebodings, correct functional disturbances, and inspire her with confidence and a determination to do all that we outline for her in the way of con-forming to the physiological requirements of health.
In general, I explain to the expectant mother in the early months of gestation that, by the new element that has been added to her personality, the function of every cell in her body is quickened and encouraged to new activity, and that increased vigor of both mind and body should be the consequence. I impress on her that this is a natural, healthy condition - a physiological state - and that upon her obedience to the mental and physical laws that environ her depend the best growth and development of a human life committed to her care, as well as her own physical and mental welfare and happiness. I appeal to her motherly instincts by impressing on her the sacredness of the trust that is by nature committed to her care, and get her to realize that of all divinely instituted privileges that of motherhood is the highest, noblest, and best. I impress on her the importance of beginning the training of her offspring nine months before it is born for the purpose of obtaining the best results in both mental and physical development.
I explain to her that the more or less morbid subjective feelings, sensations, and desires that sometimes annoy the expectant mother are but the recognition by her nervous system of the new role that it is called upon to play, and advise her that this must be taken as a friendly warning or notification that her diet must be of nutritious, easily digested, and easily eliminated consistency, such as good milk and butter, fresh fruit and vegetables, and either fresh eggs or a small quantity of meat once per day. I give her sufficient assurance and encouragement to have her make effort to develop a mental and physical constitution well capacitated for the training and nourishing of her offspring. The suggestion of the importance of physical exercise out-of-doors in the fresh air and sunshine as a daily pleasure and duty, as well as the wholesome employment of her faculties in lines of useful endeavor and achievement, together with a contented mind not ashamed of the exalted function of motherhood, as; a means of obtaining the greatest good for herself and offspring, should never be omitted by the physician desiring to influence his patient's habits of thought and conduct as a means of preventing the disorders that so frequently manifest themselves in this class of cases.
Our artificial methods of living so frequently encourage habits that are contrary to the conditions which produce and maintain the highest standard of protoplasmic energy in the cells of the human organism, that most of the functional disorders incident to the state of gestation is but nature's penalty for the violation of known laws of health.
Psychotherapy apparently plays a secondary role in its employment to get the patient to conform to the physiological and physical requirements of health, but by planting a conviction in the mind of the patient that relief from certain functional disorders will be obtained, as the individual case may present, we give the patient the benefit of both the psychic and physical results of complying with the suggestion.
As physicians, we are nothing if not practical men, and the time has conic when we should take our place as leaders and teachers of the people, as well as that of students of pathology and prescribers of medicine.
It will be an unlucky day for our civilization when our psychotherapy becomes so allied with mysticism and religious functions that we forget to conform to the physical or physiological requirements of health. To do our best in any department of life, one must first be a healthy animal, and the hunger of the body for bread and fruit is not more real than is manifested today by intelligent people for facts and principles by which life and conduct may be guided. Therefore, our psychotherapy must consist of psychological, physiological, and educational therapeutics in order to meet the demands of the intelligence of the present age.
In all my dealing with the expectant mother, in connection with either materia medica agencies or psychotherapy, I never lose an opportunity to implant in her mind the idea that, by her conformance to the regimen outlined, or as the result of the treatment she is following, both physiological and medicinal, it is absolutely impossible for her to do else than have a safe and easy delivery, and such will be the case by virtue of the creative power inherent in the cells of the organism that my suggestions have stimulated into action, provided the plasm that constitutes the physical organism is of such quality as to receive the impress of my suggestions and execute its functions.
With all the advantages of psychotherapy, what folly it is to ignore either the physical or psychical basis of life.
For the relief of persistent nausea and vomiting, when such patients have neglected the mental and physical rules by which health could have been maintained, or where the milder forms of suggestion are not practicable on account of the temporary illness of the patient, suggestion in the hypnotic state has proven efficacious upon repeated occasions in the experience of the writer.