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[Perspectives] Egyptian cowrie necklace

Pregnancy is a natural part of the female life course. Modern medicine facilitates an intense scrutiny of the developing fetus: ultrasound imaging allows non-invasive visual assessments and brings much joy to expectant parents. Tests using the mother’s blood, fetal blood, and amniotic fluid provide information about potential genetic abnormalities and birth defects. Where they are available, these technologies have supplanted older folk ways of safeguarding the health of mother and child. One of the most enduring is the widespread belief in the protective power of cowrie shells.