If there's one thing that gets me spitting mad, it's seeing respected major news outlets telling women they're inadequate to give birth. The damage that this BBC article will do cannot be told, and I am really, really upset about it.
The article claims that cesareans are impacting human evolution. When I click through the article, I honestly expected something about the microbiome, which would kind-of-maybe make sense.
But no, this article is attempting to throw women back to lies I thought we had mostly overcome – the lie that your pelvis is not enough for your baby.
See, doctors always need ways to scare women into submission, and the “baby is too big” hand has been played again, and again, and again. Fortunately most women seem to realize it's a cheap trick, so recently doctors have resorted to other ways to terrify women (currently the whole “you don't have enough amniotic fluid so we must induce you RIGHT NOW” seems to be the most popular trick in the bag – following closely behind the ever popular “your baby will DIE if you don't do EXACTLY WHAT I SAY” that has been used to manipulate women for years).
But this article looks to raise this antiquated argument from the dead and terrify a whole new generation of women into surgical submission, leaving them feeling somehow less of a woman because they just “don't have a big enough pelvis.”
Except Your Pelvis is Big Enough for Your Baby
Yeah. Honestly, that should be enough said. But let me cover a few more points:
Sadly, however, the article does stoop this low. A monkey (or ape) has a pelvis that seems bigger and more of a “straight shoot” than the human woman does. This means that something must be wrong with human women, and we are stuck with babies who get… well… stuck.
We are not monkeys, we are human women. It doesn't really matter what works for them because, well, we are not them. We are human women and our bodies are made to birth beautifully. Our babies do need to navigate a little more than your cute neighborhood ape baby, but guess what? Our babies move during labor. They work with us to move down, through, and out. It's actually kind of beautiful. Check out the Baby's Experience of Birth for more.
This article claims it's genetics and evolution.
Except we know that's wrong.
Evidence already shows that nutrition is what's primarily responsible for narrow, restricted pelvises (and facial structure, for that matter).
There's been a huge trend in the last hundred years or so to remove a crucial nutrient from the diets of humanity…
Without fat (and fat-soluble vitamins), human beings do not develop optimally.
When you add those optimal nutrients back in, the next generation shows a reversal of the degradation. In other words, it's not evolution, it's nutrition. When you feed mothers right, they give birth to baby girls with ample pelvises (and wide facial structure).
Did you know that the female pelvis is not rigid?
It's actually flexible and becomes more flexible during pregnancy because of hormones such as relaxin working to help a woman soften and open more easily.
The pelvis flexes during birth – and it only takes a little flex to make a lot of room.
I find it so sad that it's laughable…
…but apparently nobody has stopped to think that there might be other reasons women are having trouble giving birth.
Let's revisit mother ape.
She grunts a few times, squats, and pushes that baby right on out. Because of her pelvis, right?
Why don't you take mama ape out of her comfortable natural environs and instead stick her in a hospital.
She gets there and gets whisked around in a wheelchair. She's trying to ignore the hospital smell, and the blaring ambulance alarms around her. You know, trying to forget she's in a building full of sick and dying people.
She'll just squat and get on with it and block all that out, right?
Um, sorry Mama Ape.
We're going to stick you in a room full of bright lights instead. We'll just poke you with this needle – so you're tethered to a pole now.
Oh, and Mama Ape? Forget squatting and pushing that baby right on out. We're going to stick you in bed and put a monitor on you. Sorry if it irritates the fur (not to mention completely sabotaging the hormones of birth)…
WHOA MAMA – DO NOT MOVE – YOU'LL MESS UP THE MONITOR!
You've just gotta hold on and stay still!
Okay – Mama Ape is finally dilated (we can't figure out why getting stuck in a room, poked and prodded, and told she can't freaking move has interrupted things… at least she finally got over that).
Now don't try to squat!!!
We'll just put those legs sky high and let you try and push your little apeling UPHILL!
Then we're going to scratch our heads and make ape noises because you're having trouble pushing that furry little guy out…
Isn't it obvious why women are having issues birthing babies?
Even an ape can't give birth easily if she's forced to birth the way “evolved” human women are.
Sometimes birth is intense – and sometimes you really have to work your baby out. But honestly, mama, I believe in you. Even if you need to spiral, stand, or rock, you and your baby can work this out.
I say that what we need to do is tell these “researchers” where they can stuff their research and take back our babies and our pelvises.
Get out there, stand, squat, spiral… do what it takes…
and birth that baby.