Interesting Concept.

I came across this quote in my Midwifery Today, and it makes me want to get a subscription to the full magazine. But, I think it requires a quick disclaimer: I am not against cesareans. Period. I do disagree with elective cesarean when there is no medical indication, or the benefits do not clearly outweigh the risks. However, it’s not my choice, and I’ve never been in that situation, so I also do not presume to say that all cesareans in that category are wrong.

That said, I think this quote offers interesting food for thought.

Human beings react differently from other mammals to interference with the birth process. When delivery of non-human mammals is disturbed, the effects are immediate and easily detected. For example, when animals give birth by c-section or with an epidural, the general rule is that the mother is not interested in the baby. Among humans, on the other hand, we need extensive statistics to detect what are mere tendencies and risk factors. These are much more complex in our species: We speak and we create cultural milieux. In certain situations, particularly in the perinatal period, human behavior is less directly under the effects of the hormonal balance than the effects of the cultural milieu. For example, a human mother knows when she is pregnant and can anticipate maternal behavior, while other mammals must wait until the birth when they release a flow of love hormones to kindle their attachment to their newborns.

Today, we understand that to have a baby, a woman—like any other mammal—has been programmed to release a cocktail of love hormones. Today the number of women who actually “give birth” to babies and placentas thanks to this hormonal release is ever-decreasing. First, because many women give by birth by cesarean. Second, most of those who give birth vaginally receive pharmacological interventions. Unfortunately substitutes block the release of the natural hormones and do not create the same behavioural benefits. We have to wonder what will happen, in terms of civilization, if this trend continues in future generations. Can humanity survive the safe cesarean?

— Michel Odent
Excerpted from “The Future of Obstetric Technology,” Midwifery Today, Issue 85

Please feel free to share your opinion, but play nice. I will feel free to delete any derogatory comments.

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2 thoughts on “Interesting Concept.

  1. Breech births were eliminated from our culture due to liability in only a few short years. I have no doubt vaginal birth will as well. However, maybe in the grand sceme of things, we are moving appropriately to “normal birth occurs in the home” and “medical birth occurs in the hospital”… Don’t confuse the two!

  2. I felt awful after I had my first baby, who was induced. I felt wonderful, absolutely brilliant and ready to, I don’t know, go dancing, after I had my second baby, who was not induced, and who had absolutely no medical intervention whatsoever. My first, I had Nubain and a cervical block, neither of which took away any pain, but which, I think, made my baby not feel great. The nurses at the hospital have noticed that Nubain babies cry a lot. My second baby didn’t cry at all. Now, I realize that these were two different pregnancies, labors, and babies, but I’m reallllly questioning inductions and medications, etc. I don’t ever want to be induced again.

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