As advanced as modern day technology is, we are still, at times, baffled by unexplained infertility.
Now, imagine if we lived in Ancient Rome, and the only resources available to medical professionals to understand the woman’s body were animal anatomies, beliefs, theories, and midwives.
One of the most interesting aspects of healthcare in ancient times was a woman’s ability to understand and treat her own body. Women would self-examine, and if they perceived a problem, they would seek the help of a midwife, who would be able to offer information including the position of the woman’s uterus and any cervical issues. If the midwife discovered polyps or callosities (calluses), they would be cauterized. OUCH.
Many Roman physicians thought that conception occurred after menstruation, and that phases of the moon had an effect on the female cycle.
Gods played a big role in ancient Roman times. Women suffering from infertility would call upon the Goddess Juno, the Goddess of Marriage, Pregnancy and Childbirth. Also known as the Goddess of Conception, Juno would be called upon during labour and would be asked to help settle spousal arguments. Each Roman woman was said to carry her own form of Juno within her, whose strengths were leadership and loyalty, and whose weaknesses were jealousy and vindictiveness.
Thankfully, we have been fortunate enough in modern times to grow and move forward with our knowledge and treatment of medicine and infertility.