Tag Archives: pregnancy

What Ye Myght Be Feeling at 6 Months Pregnant: Anne’s Coronation

Contributed by Natalie Sweet

The following descriptions are combined from the most recent 4th edition of Heidi Murkoff’s and Sharon Mazel’s What to Expect When You are Expecting (passages in bold) and from Jakob Reuff’s (1500-1558) The Expert Midwife, which was reprinted in English in 1637 (passages italicized). A pregnant lady would not necessarily experience all of these symptoms, but they are very common ones when one is 6 months pregnant.

What Ye Myght Be Feeling at 6 Months Pregnant

More definite fetal activity: “an Infant, although as yet, by reafon of his tender and feeble condition and ftate, he wanteth motion.”

Continued vaginal discharge

Achiness in the lower abdomen and along the sides

Constipation: “But if it fhall happen that they be bound and cannot goe orderly to ftoole, let them take Spinage feafoned with ftore of Butter, alfo Lettuce made tender with Water, with Salt, Wine, and Vinegar. But if thofe things will not relaxe and unloofe the belly, let them ufe Suppofitors, confected and made of Hony and the yolke of an Egge, or with Venice-Soafpe. But if the conftipation and binding fhall be for eat, that this remedy will not profit, let them by the avice of a skilfull Phyfician, ufe a potion of the decoction of the leaves of Sena, together with Caffia, newly extracted and drawne, which the Phyfician fhall minifter, more or leffe, according to the quality fo the conftipation or coftiveneffe.”

Heartburn, indigestion, flatulence, bloating: “Let [preganant women] abftaine from crude, raw, and groffe mates: to wit,Lentils, Beanes, Milium, Beefe, falt an fryed, fruites, milke, cheefe, and fuch like.”

Occasional headaches, faintness, or dizziness: “let them drinke Sorrell-water, and Rofe-water warmed, tempered with Cinamon and little Rundells or Cakes, named Manus Chrifti, or Diamagariton. Of the water of Rofes and Bugloffe, being tempered with a little Cinamon, Cloves, and Saffron beaten to powder: fhall be laid upon the breft in a cloth once or twice doubled together, dipped and fteeped in that water.”

Nasal congestion and occasional nosebleeds; ear stuffiness

Sensitive gums

Hearty appetite: “Let the diet and food of women with child, be frugall and moderate…let them ufe Chickins, Egs, diverf forts of Pottages, Birds, Mutton and Veale, It will be good fometime to ufe Cinamome and Nutmeg, with Sugar. Let reafonable white Wine ferve for their drinke.”

Continued Morning Sickness: “But if a difposfition to vomiting fhall creepe upon them, or that they cannot difeft the meat which they have taken, let them use this fyrup: Take the fyrup of Pomegranates one ounce and a halfe, Muske, Lignum Aloes, of each one fcruple, Cinamome one fcruple and a halfe, temper and commixe them with three ounces of water of Sorrell, and make a draught of it for them to drinke. Let them drinke this fyrup every day when they are fafting, being well warmed.”

Leg cramps

Mild swelling of ankles and feet, and occasionally of hands and face: “prepare and make bathes for their fete and legges, in which let them fit daily one houre before fupper, and againe three houres together after fupper.”

Varicose veins of the legs and/or hemorrhoids

Itchy abdomen

A protruding navel


Skin pigementation changes on abdomen and/or face

Stretch marks

Enlarged breasts: due to “the Dugs or Paps chang[ing] the blood into milke”

Trouble sleeping

Numbness in hands

Slight bleeding

Note: “There is neede of very great causion and heed to be taken, that no peril and danger may happen to them which are with childe by any manner of meanes, either by fudden feare, affrightments, by fire, lightening, thunder, with monftrous and hideous afpects and fights of men and beafts, by immoderate joy, forrow and lamentation; or my untemperate exercife and motion of running, leaping, riding, or by furfeist or repletion by meate and drinke: or that they being taken with an difeafe doe not ufe fharpe and violent medicines ufing the counfell of unkilfull Phyficians.”


A woodcut image of a woman’s anatomy from Jakob Reuff’s book.

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Filed under Coronation Feature, Life in 16th century England

The Coronation of Anne Boleyn: A Sharp Contrast to May 19th, 1536

Contributed by Natalie Sweet

Perhaps nothing places the events of May 19th, 1536, in such a harsh light as the celebrations that had taken place in honor of Anne’s coronation. By all accounts, Henry spared no expense to honor his new Queen. Pageants were held, and a grand procession was planned. Anne’s ladies wore scarlet, the streets were bedecked in the color of crimson, and wine flowed from a fountain. Three years later, a scarlet-crimson of a different kind would touch the earth.

Was a sudden downfall something Anne should have expected, or at the very least, have been concerned about?  On May 23rd, 1533, Thomas Cranmer declared the marriage between Henry and Katherine of Aragon as null and void. Henry might have behaved abominably to Katherine and convinced himself of the illegitimacy of their marriage, but this was the same man who had hotly pursued Anne for years. Not only this, but Anne carried his child, a child she had every reason to hope was a boy.

And speaking of her pregnancy, the coronation celebration was as much, if not more, of a celebration of Anne’s pregnancy as it was of Anne herself. The Queen’s duty was to bear children, and there was no doubt that Anne was very heavily pregnant, as almost all of the accounts relate. With this in mind, I would like to take the time to consider what it must have been like to have been so pregnant, on the 1st of June, and to have withstood the days of festivities that Anne experienced. I use “withstood” purposefully: at this time, Anne would have been in her second trimester, generally the “good” time of the pregnancy. The first trimester sickness has usually passed by this time (unless, one is unlucky and it lasts the entire pregnancy), and the third trimester bloating is yet to come. Having worked with Susan this time last year on this project, and having been in my own second trimester, I at that time imagined there was a certain amount of misery in the day’s festivities. To put it into perspective: I love shopping (probably at an unhealthy level!), and had decided to go with my mother on an outdoor outlet shopping adventure at the beginning of June. I was very excited about it, and thought myself perfectly capable of handling the day. Even with driving to certain stores, however, I was exhausted and swollen by the day’s events. The heat, which seems to intensify when one is pregnant, was terrible in my capris and t-shirt, and it was a coolish June day. Now imagine Anne wearing her purple velvet. Never mind riding in a litter; smiling at everyone, whether they acted pleased to greet her or not, would be taxing on even the most indulgent, over-heated pregnant lady.

Likewise, no matter how well the pregnancy progresses in the second trimester, there is still the slight nagging worry that something might go wrong. Compound this worry with the thought that your husband absolutely relies on you to deliver of a healthy, preferably male, child and see where that takes your mind.

In the week that follows, we will examine various aspects of Anne’s coronation. We will look at accounts from both Anne’s friends and enemies in an attempt to contrast the celebration that Anne’s reign began with, and the dismal events that ushered her out.

The Noble Tryumphaunt Coronacyon of Quene Anne – Wyfe unto the Noble Kynge Henry the VIII, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1533

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