Success of C-sections altering course of human evolution, says new childbirth research
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Cesarean section. Safe way out or threat to the future?
Today, C-section is a common practice in veterinary medicine, in particular, it is often used by obstetrics in dogs. This operation is usually carried out successfully, but then one has to compensate for the inadequacy of maternal behavior, to help nurture the cubs and, where necessary, give them breast-milk substitutes.
Almost a hundred years ago, a South African naturalist and poet Eugène Marais conducted experiments to verify the correctness of his intuitive assumptions about the relationship between the labor pain and maternal love. He watched the group of 60 semi-wild antelopes in the herd where no mother had left her baby for the past 15 years. Marais made parturient females to breathe fumes of chloroform and ether, and found that the mother refused to take care of the newborn afterwards. There is no need to list all of the experiences and observations of veterinarians and scientists to make sure that the cesarean section - or even just anesthesia as an integral part of it - can radically distort mammalian maternal behavior. If the child was born by caesarean section, then a general or local anesthesia was in use. Anesthesia in itself can cause serious disturbances in the mother's behavior.
There is a recently published study which examined children whose mothers suffered from depression for six months after birth. At the age of 11 years, their children showed a more pronounced tendency to violence: they have been fighting at school more often, they used weapon in fighting more often. Finnish researchers have investigated the risk factors for asthma and allergic disease in a 31-year-old adults (born in 1966). It turned out that those born by cesarean section were at risk of developing asthma 3.23 times as much than those born vaginally. Today, we know that the fetus is likely to participate in the launch of the birth process. One way - give a signal, discharging a substance into the amniotic fluid, which indicates that the lungs are "ripe." Moreover, there is reason to believe that the hormones, secreted by mother and fetus during labor, can contribute to the completion of lungs maturation. Thus, it is easy to predict that in babies born by cesarean section before labor respiratory problems will occur more often - and not only at birth but also later in life. Any mammal producing offspring is trying to keep away from prying eyes. For a woman in labor it is the same urgent need. Her need to feel safe shall be satisfied; when a female mammal can smell a predator nearby, delivery will stop for a while. It is noteworthy that the women, sheltered from danger and the public eye, often prefer to give birth in a manner typical of mammals, for instance, on all fours.
It is often said that we need to humanize childbirth, that is, to make it more humane. In fact, if we want to reduce the rate of Caesarean sections we are first to make it more like giving birth in mammals. In certain a sense, we shall be dehumanizing the delivery.
Source: Michel Odent. The CaesareanAll news »»