J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2018 May 24;31(10):1381-1384. Epub 2017 Apr 24.
a Service de Néonatologie , Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sud Réunion , La Réunion , Saint Pierre , France.
La "Donna di Ostuni", the Lady from Ostuni (fortified medieval city, on the southern Italian Adriatic coast) is the skeleton of "the human most ancient mother" ever found by paleoanthropologists, grave dated of 28,000 years BP. It concerns a 20-years-old woman buried with her baby in her womb estimated at 8 months gestation. To date, the cause of the maternal-fetal deaths is qualified of unknown origin. We propose that eclampsia may be a possible explanation for these deaths (mother and baby together). Eclampsia (convulsions), the curse of human births (non-existent in other mammals), has been described since writings has existed 5000 years ago in all civilisations. This plausible description dating from Palaeolithic times, 28,000 years BP, long before the emergence of agriculture (10,000 years BP) may be an interesting milestone. Further, she was buried with a shell-made headdress, as represented in several "Venus" figurines retrieved in all the Eurasiatic area (notably the "Willemdorf Venus"). The authors propose a new hypothesis that this headdress could be a protective device for pregnant women not only for birthing, but also against the terrorising convulsions (eclampsia) which could happen in all human pregnancy, especially in the first ones (primiparae).