Arabs and Obstetrics

Hynayn Ibn-Ishak (Joannitius, 809-873 A.D.) translated the work of the Greek pioneer in obstetrics, Paul of Aegina, into Arabic. Hunayn also translated to the Arabic world most of the work of Hippocrates, Galen, and Ptolemy. Moreover, he was a gifted physician and philosopher. Ali Ibn-Al- Abas Al-Majusi (Halle Abbas) who died in 994 A.D. was the first to describe in his book "Al-Kitab Al-Malaki" (The Royal Book) that the uterine contractions are the cause of delivery of the fetus (Keys 1971). Before him, it was thought that the uterine contractions were only as indication of the onset of labor; subsequently the fetus would swim its way out of the womb and birth canal.

Most of the deliveries were performed by midwives at home. For complicated obstetrics Al-Zahrawi offered advice to midwives as mentioned.