This book presents the various transformations which occur within the mother and developing baby during pregnancy. It begins with Suwen chapter 1, which describes the unfolding of female fertility, Elisabeth then gives a month-by-month description of pregnancy, drawing specifically on the Zhubing Yuanhou Lun, the Mawangdui Manuscript and Sun Simiao. Two later texts, the Qipolun and the Luxingjing, are particularly interesting because they present alternative and more unusual images of the developing fetus, and speak of the presence of the spirits (hun, po and shen) in the fetus.
These ancient teachings are still valuable today and enhance our understanding of the transformations of blood and qi which take place during the ten months of a pregnancy. Together with its companion volume, The Essential Woman, Elisabeth Rochat has given us an two indispensable guides to the classical Chinese perception of women’s health and fertility.