A Very Interesting Article

05 Jan

Journal Article Review – Bipedalism and Parturition: An Evolutionary Imperative for Cesarean Delivery?.

Today, courtesy of The Navelgazing Midwife on Facebook, I found this piece on bipedalism and birth as something that makes birth dangerous to “both the mother and her young”.  As someone who has studied human evolution on a college level, I found this article fascinating.  There were so many things I saw that were untrue, or didn’t account for the pelvis size changing as the birthing mother changes positions.  I think the results of the study reviewed here are complete BS.  As midwives have noticed for many generations, mothers who give birth calmly and peacefully and let their baby go at his or her own pace, so long as he is not in distress, are usually quite successful.  They experience much less pain than a woman who is terrified in a hospital surrounded by OBs who want to slice her open and who make her feel like a bad mother when she doesn’t want interventions.  Hopefully in the coming years more research will be done which is unbiased.  I believe, in an unbiased study, natural, unhurried birth would be found to be the safest, least traumatic way to have a baby.  It’s true that sometimes things do go wrong, and we are lucky that in those cases women can turn to OBs and find the help they need.   Most species of mammals have the same issues we do with birth- stillborns, miscarriages, mutations.  We’re lucky we’re the only species who is able to help in those situations.  Stillbirth can be avoided in certain circumstances via cesarean.  Miscarriages after 20 weeks can be cared for in ICU and can survive.  Mutations can be rectified through plastic surgery, prosthetics, etc.  We are lucky to have these innovations at our fingertips.  But obstetricians need to stop seeing birth as an unnatural process.  Just because sometimes problems are encountered during birth doesn’t mean women who don’t encounter problems should be treated like they will at any moment.  We are powerful, ladies!!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

1 Comment

Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Perspectives, Rants


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One response to “A Very Interesting Article

  1. thebirthmuse

    January 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    As an anthropologist, I am happy to see your take here. Of course evolution did not leave us high and dry, unable to birth our babies! Why would everything work so perfectly except this sort-of important detail? I love reading the work of Dana Walrath, an anthropologist who studies the evolution of human pelves (the plural of pelvis — cool, eh?). She believes that it has been pure sexism in archaeology and medicine that created this “birth is dangerous because of bipedalism” story. The feminist story is that we human women are amazing creatures who are incredibly highly-evolved to give birth to our babies. She’s got the bones to prove it! Check out her articles such as
    1. Walrath D. (2006) Gender, Genes, and the Evolution of Human Birth, in Feminist Anthropology: Past, Present, and Future. PL Geller and MK Stockett (eds.), Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    2. Walrath D. (2003) Re-thinking pelvic typologies and the human birth mechanism. Current Anthropology 44(1):5-31.

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