C-sections effecting our evolution - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-14-2006, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All! My dh and I were pondering this. Perhaps it's a bit out there, but as I read todays article in the Hartford Courant here
I have often wondered if the desire for elective c-sections as well as any non-emergency c-section could have long term effects on our evolution.
It frightens me that not only will most children who are born via c-section do not experience the journey of vaginal birth, but could potentially never inherit the coding needed to perform a vaginal delivery. Does that make any sense?
I compare this to a discussion I had with my dentist. He is seeing more and more and more children without any sign of wisdom teeth. He believes this is because through the generations, food has become softer, liquidy and requires less work for us to eat. Back during the caveman times, humans has more teeth in their mouths to break up bone- because that was how they eat- so nature provided the tools to chew such material, like that and nuts, grains, etc.
Now that we don't eat bones, nature has altered the need for those teeth. And now nature is at work again altering future generations, because we surgically extracted the wisdom teeth, therefore training our genetic code not to create them anymore.
So what is the point? Could we be unconciously altering our future my manipulating the laws of nature and our evolution? Might there come a time that our childrens' bodies do not know how to birth naturally?
Would their bodies alter to the point the pelvis is no longer suitable to open enough for a baby to pass through?
Something to chew on...even without wisdom teeth.

I welcome your thoughts!

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Old 02-14-2006, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:39 PM
 
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I don't think so. Circumcision has been popular a lot longer than c-sections, and you don't see boys being born without foreskins. JMO.
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:46 PM
 
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Odent has a theory on this (more about babies with large heads being able to survive whereas before they would not). I think it's a bit far fetched though.
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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I was born via c-section and had a great vaginal non medicated birth when my daughter was born. Maybe after hundreds of years if everybody had c-sections, but I don't know.
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Old 02-14-2006, 05:09 PM
 
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Wouldn't it take a reaaaaaally long time for this to happen, like thousands of generations?
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Old 02-14-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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Hmmm.... Not sure about that, but I have read that some people think that we are affecting people by it... something important happens when baby is birthed vaginally-- some of it can be duplicated post partum with whats-it-- cranial scarpal manipulation (SP!?!).... but some of it is hormonal... and hormonal stuff that doesnt happen for mom or baby is shown to have life long implications..... I forget where all I've read this stuff, but try googeling things like impact of c-s, etc.... and you will find some interesting theories. Who knows! I think making a nation wide switch to surgical births cant NOT be bad, but that's just my gut.
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:07 PM
 
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I don't think so. Circumcision has been popular a lot longer than c-sections, and you don't see boys being born without foreskins. JMO" Mhenry

This is a good point, I agree completely. Actually , I`ve read some interesting stuff about how c/s born people are bolder, more risk taking, b/c they weren`t put in their place at birth. They didn`t have the compression and the stress of vag birth (all normal of course) and so when they`re just lifted out they miss one of the universally humbling experiences in life. In my family my c/s son is the wild animal and my 3 day labor posterior baby is more hesitant, but that`s just my experience.

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Old 02-14-2006, 07:18 PM
 
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Nah, I'm not buying it. I can't imagine our bodies evolving to depend on technology for survival.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amyjeans
It frightens me that not only will most children who are born via c-section do not experience the journey of vaginal birth, but could potentially never inherit the coding needed to perform a vaginal delivery.
This statement really bothers me. My dd was born by cesarean and I fully expect her to be able to deliver vaginally, should she choose to have babies.

I also think the whole missing out/detrimental effects of not having been delivered vaginally are blown way out of proportion. My dd has never had any problems and is honestly the healthiest kid I've ever met.

I know we all like to dog on cesareans around here, but they're really not the end of the world. We'll survive.
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liseux
Actually , I`ve read some interesting stuff about how c/s born people are bolder, more risk taking, b/c they weren`t put in their place at birth. They didn`t have the compression and the stress of vag birth (all normal of course) and so when they`re just lifted out they miss one of the universally humbling experiences in life. In my family my c/s son is the wild animal and my 3 day labor posterior baby is more hesitant, but that`s just my experience.
That's really interesting! If you have any links, I'd love to read more about this.
My dd is only 15 months, but bold and risk taking are definitely adjectives I'd use to describe her.
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mhenry
I don't think so. Circumcision has been popular a lot longer than c-sections, and you don't see boys being born without foreskins. JMO.
good point. I didn't think of that.

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Old 02-14-2006, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nah, I'm not buying it. I can't imagine our bodies evolving to depend on technology for survival.
I don't know about that- looking at the pharmacutical influence on so many- I've seen first hand how people are depending more and more on drugs, instead of trying to alter their lives to cure or treat an ailment. Know what I mean? Depending on technology is the backbone of our society it seems. Just an opinion.


Quote:
This statement really bothers me. My dd was born by cesarean and I fully expect her to be able to deliver vaginally, should she choose to have babies.
I also think the whole missing out/detrimental effects of not having been delivered vaginally are blown way out of proportion. My dd has never had any problems and is honestly the healthiest kid I've ever met.
Okay- well, I think my targeting the very next generation or those afterwards might be hasty- perhaps, as another poster said- maybe it could happen hundreds of generations from now. I think nature works a bit slower than that.

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I know we all like to dog on cesareans around here, but they're really not the end of the world. We'll survive.
[/QUOTE]
not doggin here mama, just thinking out loud.

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Old 02-14-2006, 08:00 PM
 
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I think it's really more a public health question than an evolution question-- with the evidence that c/s on its own may cause more asthma, gut problems, and of course, problems in future pregnancies (mainly placenta accreta, etc but also unexplained stillbirth) which is important in societies where plenty of women have 2+ kids. But widespread practice of not BF for a year is probably more of a public health issue.

A lot of stuff can't be quantified, but I do think generally when you start messing around with natural processes on a wide scale without actual medical indications for doing it you mess things up in a way that over long periods of time could be damaging to society.
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Old 02-14-2006, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosemommy
Hmmm.... Not sure about that, but I have read that some people think that we are affecting people by it... something important happens when baby is birthed vaginally-- some of it can be duplicated post partum with whats-it-- cranial scarpal manipulation (SP!?!).... but some of it is hormonal... and hormonal stuff that doesnt happen for mom or baby is shown to have life long implications..... I forget where all I've read this stuff, but try googeling things like impact of c-s, etc.... and you will find some interesting theories. Who knows! I think making a nation wide switch to surgical births cant NOT be bad, but that's just my gut.
cranial sacral work- I think that happens more from forced vaginal deliveries- because babies heads are squeezed through the canal, and not squeezed during c-section.

I agree about the hormonal thing. This might be another interesting thread to start- what hormonal events does a c-section place on a mama as opposed to a vaginal? Do they feel the same? Meaning the physical feelings after the delivery, once any drugs wear off and nursing is established and so on.
Do c-section birth mamas go through the same type of recovery period like a vaginal birth mama? (not the healing from surgery, but the post pardum event)
Does that making any sense??

just throwing my thoughts out there.

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Old 02-14-2006, 10:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amyjeans
I don't know about that- looking at the pharmacutical influence on so many- I've seen first hand how people are depending more and more on drugs, instead of trying to alter their lives to cure or treat an ailment. Know what I mean? Depending on technology is the backbone of our society it seems. Just an opinion.
Well I see that more as a lifestyle choice than an evolutionary necessity. It isn't that they are unable to treat themselves naturally, but rather choose not to. If our pelvises evolved to be physically unable to birth babies, we would have no choice of birthing naturally.

Quote:
Okay- well, I think my targeting the very next generation or those afterwards might be hasty- perhaps, as another poster said- maybe it could happen hundreds of generations from now. I think nature works a bit slower than that.
I agree with you there.

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not doggin here mama, just thinking out loud.
I didn't mean that toward you specifically, I'm sorry that it sounded that way. I think I tend to take the general anti-c/s attitude here a bit too personally.

Thank you for the interesting discussion! You've certainly made me think.
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Old 02-15-2006, 02:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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no prob mama! I'm glad to see the responses and get my gears turning.

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Old 02-15-2006, 02:28 AM
 
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I read a discussion here at MDC about this in regard to general medicine. Someone who seemed to know quite a bit about the study of evolution said that this is the wrong way to look it because the ability to do c-section is part of the evolutionary process. She showed me that I was thinking of evolution incorrectly. I'd post for some anthropologists to help because they'll have some more info for you. Good luck.

If I can find the thread, I'll link it for you.

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Old 02-15-2006, 03:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amyjeans
I have often wondered if the desire for elective c-sections as well as any non-emergency c-section could have long term effects on our evolution.
It frightens me that not only will most children who are born via c-section do not experience the journey of vaginal birth, but could potentially never inherit the coding needed to perform a vaginal delivery.
I don't think so. Most C-sections are not done for true CPD. Meaning that most moms physically could have a vaginal birth.

Also that it would take several thousand generations to actually effect our evolution.

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Old 02-16-2006, 01:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mhenry
I don't think so. Circumcision has been popular a lot longer than c-sections, and you don't see boys being born without foreskins. JMO.
I agree.

I think that the theories that elective csections will cause such a change in the female body is bogus.
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Old 02-16-2006, 02:43 AM
 
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This might be another interesting thread to start- what hormonal events does a c-section place on a mama as opposed to a vaginal? Do they feel the same? Meaning the physical feelings after the delivery, once any drugs wear off and nursing is established and so on.
I know that studies show that it generally takes longer for a woman's milk to come in when she has had a c-sect.
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Old 02-16-2006, 04:11 AM
 
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Amyjeans, I asked my own mom that very question 40 years ago. I asked if something catastrophic happened as a famine or something to disrupt our civilization, would women or women's bodies forget how to give birth since it had not been imprinted for generations.

I mean, if a woman suddenly in such a situation was pregnant and went into labor who would help her, how would she know what to do or how to manage. I know much of birth and nursing is innate, but women have always had midwives to help them. Since surgerical birth removes any cognitive responsibilities from the mother for the outcome and care of her baby, how can she know what to do?

I had a neighbor who had one child seven years before I had my first child. She told me she asked her mother what to expect from labor and delivery and her mother told her she did not know since she had been knocked out in the 1930s and 1940s for the births of her children.

Natural Birth may become an anomaly eventually.

I did have an anthropology professor who believed that the necessity for more surgical births was because our brains and therefore our heads, are getting bigger. I do not know. Maybe just our skulls are getting thicker.

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Old 02-16-2006, 02:26 PM
 
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"Since surgical birth removes any cognitive responsibilities from the mother for the outcome and care of her baby, how can she know what to do?" Applejuice

Applejuice, I`m just wondering what do you meant by this, just that a c/s is kind of alien to the natural order or that a mom doesn`t have instincts even after the surgery?

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Old 02-16-2006, 02:30 PM
 
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If anything, maybe c/s mess with evolution b/c they keep alive some of the moms who might have died during labor in the past, due to some of the severe and rare anomalies that prevent vaginal birth. Yet, now these mamas can have a baby surgically so some women keep giving birth to daughters with possibly similar issues where the line might have ended with them.

Like all things in nature, evolution is not perfect and clean, there will always be weird things popping up that don`t fit with where we thought humans were going.

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Old 02-16-2006, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbad
I know that studies show that it generally takes longer for a woman's milk to come in when she has had a c-sect.
I think I read that same study, but they found it was the fault of the drugs given, not the fact of the mother being cut open. Once the placenta leaves the wall, the proper hormones still kick in.
It's the anesthesia and narcotics that are affecting mom's milk, not the actual act of cesarean.
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Old 02-16-2006, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by amyjeans
It frightens me that not only will most children who are born via c-section do not experience the journey of vaginal birth, but could potentially never inherit the coding needed to perform a vaginal delivery. Does that make any sense?
In a way, yes. I have had this same discussion in the past. I think it falls more along the lines of having a mother who is more willing to say "YES!" to her daughter choosing a cesarean, kwim?

I don't believe for a second that the "Birth code" that was formed millions of years ago, could be erased that quickly.
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Old 02-16-2006, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice
I know much of birth and nursing is innate, but women have always had midwives to help them.
That is not true, as many tribal women still have unassisted births, as they have done forever.
Midwives were only called when there was trouble.
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Old 02-16-2006, 03:57 PM
 
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Speaking as an anthropologist and echoing some of the points made previously....

An early school of evolutionary thought (the now abandoned theories of Lamarckian evolution) suggested that evolution might act through "acquired" traits. It's an interesting set of theories, and very similar in to the concern raised by the op, but if you pull the concept out a little you can see where it falls short. Like the posters who've mentioned circumcision, Lamarkian evolution would suppose that a circumcised person would pass on that trait, and all his descendents would be circumcised (or the classic example of a person who's arm is cut off having children with only one arm). Now you could argue that a circumcised individual might create a cultural environment in which descendents would be circumcised, but it has nothing to do with biology.

Our current understanding of evolution suggests that evolution acts through reproductive success and generally selects "against" rather than "for" a trait. So if a person has something "extra" which doesn't get in the way of their reproductive success (say an appendix, or tonsils), they can pass it along to their offspring and evolution "doesn't care". It's only when an individual has something which impedes their reproductive success that that trait/characteristic is removed from the gene pool over time due to the simple fact that the carrier of the trait can't reproduce.

So a surgical procedure performed on a woman should not have any impact on her descendants and evolution (as such), except to the extent that a previous poster mentioned...women and infants who might otherwise have died (and been removed from the genetic stock) may now live and reproduce. So very gradually we might find an increase in infant head size (we are talking hundreds of thousands of years here at the soonest).

Of much greater impact (in terms of evolution) is modern medicine and our ability to prolong the lives of people who might otherwise have died before reaching reproductive age, as well as medical advances in assisted fertility. It's a complex and really fascinating topic!

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Old 02-16-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
That is not true, as many tribal women still have unassisted births, as they have done forever.
Midwives were only called when there was trouble.
They did not have a trusted female companion help them?

I only say this since even throughout the mammal kingdom, females help each other in labor. This is even seen in humpback whales, and most other mammals.

Just asking, not wanting to debate. I do know that throughout the mammal kingdom, most females quietly labor alone in a place that the mother feels safest.

We could learn a thing or two (or three or four) from them.

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Old 02-16-2006, 04:02 PM
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Okay, along those lines, I would say IVF would be a more likely possiblity, ie-the sperm's "natural" environemnet has changed, therefore the male sperm might change and no longer be "good" at natural impregnation....maybe the sperm now have evolved to "need" saline solution or whatever chemicals they use in the lab, kwim?

And, perhaps the female's eggs/ovums might change to be "better" at waiting to attach to the uterine wall, so then we may see more multiple births?

I guess, we are going to see change, but we really can't "know" what will happen until it does, right?
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Old 02-16-2006, 04:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liseux
Yet, now these mamas can have a baby surgically so some women keep giving birth to daughters with possibly similar issues where the line might have ended with them.
A nurse told my Father this in the early 1950s. She was talking about other disorders by which most people would die earlier and exit the gene pool before reproducing.

Quote:
Applejuice, I`m just wondering what do you meant by this, just that a c/s is kind of alien to the natural order or that a mom doesn`t have instincts even after the surgery?
Just that there may be an "imprinting" of information from mother to child in the process of birthing through the birth canal...it is known that there is a hormonal connection between the pituitary gland and the placenta for the commencement of the labor process, and a chemical preparation in the baby's nervous system by the production of adrenal-like stress hormones produced by the central nervous system known as cathecholamines which prepare the baby to take its first breath and for life outside the womb. Too much of these stress hormones can cause fetal distress and meconium staining, and too few can cause fetal apnea and lethargy which are too often present with a baby born too early without any labor through the surgical process.

Does that make sense?

Let me be fair; there are plenty of healthy term babies born surgically and plenty of babies who are born with problems through the birth canal. Just doing some generalized explaining here.

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