De Ventre Inspiciendo Law and Legal Definition

De Ventre Inspiciendo is a Latin term which means ‘of or for inspecting the belly.’ This was a writ allowing a presumptive heir to summon a jury of matrons to verify the pregnancy of a widow suspected of feigning the pregnancy to produce a supposed heir. A widow may feign herself with child, in order to produce a supposititious heir to the estate. If, upon examination, the widow be found not pregnant, the presumptive heir shall be admitted to the inheritance.

De Ventre Inspiciendo also refers to a writ providing a temporary stay of execution if a jury of matrons determines that a woman scheduled for execution and claiming pregnancy is “quick with child.” At common law, this plea could be made before execution. If the jury finds the woman pregnant then the execution would be postponed until after the birth, but if the woman became pregnant a second time before execution, she had no remedy.