Blame the King
Babies: It seems they just appear at your local coffee house accompanied by tired looking adults. But each and every baby is born from a mother’s body and how this happens is a small miracle of evolution. Sadly, W.E.I.R.D. culture assumed wrongly that it knew better than evolution and started laying women on their backs during labor (the lithotomy position). Why? Because squatting is gross and what uncivilized, lower humans do. Disgusting! Childbirth is just so ‘ew!’. There is blood and grunting, mucus and pooping and then a wrinkly, slimy little human at the end. W.E.I.R.D. culture (understandably) saw this as something that could be improved upon. But it’s actually much grosser to put a laboring mother on her back because the consequences of that decision are bad for human moms and babies. Turns out gross works well for us.
You see, we have these big brains. BIG. In order to birth that big head, humans learned over long periods of time that an upright position allowed gravity to assist the birth, additionally, the pelvic outlet is actually bigger in the squatting or (Lord have mercy!) the all-fours position on hands and knees.
This image explains it all, just compare the Gorilla pelvic outlet/infant head to the human scenario:
Seriously, Gorilla birth is much easier. The Macaca seems to have an even tighter head to pelvis ratio than us! The poor monkeys. In 1989 scientists were able to observe a wild Macaca (Macaques) giving birth and she apparently engaged in “lordosis, arching of the back, stretching, squatting, rolling on the ground, and anogenital self-examination”, which sounds like a whole lotta fun. And exactly what a human mom will do if she isn’t trained by culture to act otherwise. Meanwhile, watch this calm Gorilla mom:
See? So easy! But, when baby has a big head and mom a small pelvis, body position and movement are critical to a smooth birth.
In part, we can blame the pervert, King Louis the XIV (1638-1715). Actually, he’s dead, so let’s blame him in full. The King liked to watch women giving birth and was obsessed with, not only this process, but the emerging field of surgery as well. He insisted on having women lie back during birth so he could watch (how annoying it must have been to have his view obscured!), and he forbade midwives to attend the women in his royal court. Instead, accouchuers (male midwives) were the only attendants allowed. We know about his proclivities, but there may have been others that did not make the history books. Let’s be honest, these men didn’t know jack diddly about birth and yet were certain that their male superiority would give them advantages over the traditional midwives of the time. #wrong
Flash forward to now. About 57% of women in the U.S. still lie on their backs even though this is not advantageous to mother or baby. It makes the journey an uphill battle, instead of a downward slide. The lithotomy position makes labor last longer, causing the use of unnecessary interventions like episiotomy (cutting the perineum) or extended fetal monitoring. When women use an upright position in labor they are 23% less likely to have forceps or vacuum assistance, 21% less likely to have an episiotomy, 54% less likely to have abnormal fetal heart tones, which is often a determining factor in cesarean delivery, and 100% more likely to feel in control of their own body.
With a 30% cesarean rate (the World Health Organization recommends a 5-15% rate as ideal), high infant and staggering maternal mortality rates, multiple changes in obstetric practice are necessary. Let’s not allow a dead pervert to keep us on our backs any longer! It’s time to save money, labor and recovery time and avoid surgery and other unnecessary interventions by getting off our backs.
This W.E.I.R.D. Science model has failed:
#squatbirth #squatthatbaby #grossisgood #knowledgebombs
Of Further interest –
History of lithotomy in childbirth: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1647027/pdf/amjph00256-0102.pdf
Infant Mortality rates: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr63/nvsr63_05.pdf
Maternal Mortality rates: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150506/NEWS/150509941