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June 19, 1954


Author Affiliations

New York

From the departments of obstetrics and gynecology of the Mount Sinai and Presbyterian hospitals and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

JAMA. 1954;155(8):712-715. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.03690260004002

Bleeding from the genital tract is an invariable concomitant of reproduction in many species of vertebrates. Most familiar is the macroscopic blood loss that occurs after parturition in mammals with deciduate placentas. Less well known is the microscopic bleeding of maternal origin that accompanies the early stages of placentation and embryonic development. It is the purpose of this paper to summarize the evidence for this phenomenon based on observations in other species and to present evidence for its occurrence in man.

BLEEDING IN LOWER VERTEBRATES  Throughout the vertebrate subphylum, whenever the embryo is dependent on maternal sustenance beyond the ovum stage, red blood cells may be found in admixture with the pabulum of the brood chamber. In a delightful little essay on the phylogeny of menstruation, Carl Hartman1 called attention almost a quarter of a century ago to the purposeful nature of this maternal bleeding, even as it occurs

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