Re: Australopithecine birth

Wendee Holtcamp (
Fri, 03 Apr 1998 00:44:23 -0500

> "Still, it's hard to resist speculating a little. For example, the
>modification of the pelvis involved in bipedal anatomy presents human
>mothers with a unique difficulty: one which has implications for social
>cooperation. While the birth process in quadrupedal monkeys is less simple
>and easy than has generally been believed, the neonate twists during its
>passage through the birth canal to face the mother, who can thus assist in
>its final emergence. In humans, on the other hand, the baby has to twist to
>face away from the mother, who thus cannot provide such assistance for fear
>of breaking its back. Neither can the mother attend by herself, as monkeys
>can, to clearing mucus from the baby's nose and mouth to allow it to breathe
>or to unwinding the umbilical cord from around the baby's neck. All these
>attentions are frequently necessary, which is why midwifery is virtually
>universal in human societies. It has been suggested that the involvement
>of females other than the mother in the birth process goes right back to the
>origins of bipedalism: and if so, this implies a level of cooperation and
>coordination among early hominid females that goes far beyond that involved
>in the occasional infant care by 'aunts' seen in other primates.
>Inferential again, and subject to better knowledge of the birth process
>among apes--but certainly suggestive."~Ian Tattersall, Becoming Human, (New
>York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998), p. 121-122

The idea that mothers can't deliver their own babies is a bunch of hogwash.
Its a myth given us by well-meaning doctors who feel they must "do"
something medical to a God-given natural process. Midwifes are universal in
human births (historically) not because the mother CAN'T deliever the baby
herself but because of the intensity of labor (particularly first time
moms, or primips) and because of potential difficulties that may arise that
another woman can assist with. Most midwives in today's age actually
encourage moms to catch their own babies if they so desire. It all depends
on the state of the mom at the time of delivery!

It IS true that babies typically come out facing away from mom. Some babies
(posterior) come out facing mom but these are usually more difficult labors
- "back labor" as its called. Personally I believe the intensity of our
labor is part of the fall, as the Bible says. I also believe all women
SHOULD go through natural (drug-free) childbirth as that is God's
intention. It is also extremely rewarding but extremely difficult to
convince most women these days of - most just want their epidurals!

Anyway there is a Bible passage that says something like "women are
justified through birth.." or women become free, or SOMETHING and I am
looking up everything I can think of in my Concordance and CANNOT for the
life of me find it. Argh, did I dream this up?! If anyone knows a similar
Bible passage PLEASE email it to me!

>Is it impossible for the mother to ensure that the mucus is cleared and the
>umbilical cord unwrapped by herself without endangering the baby?

Yes it IS possible. Many babies will clear their own passages with their
first cry. Again here doctors have stepped in and act like they NEED to
suck out great gobs of mucus or the baby won't live. Again its not true.
Its a protection against malpractice suits is all. And umbilical cords are
only wrapped around neck in about 10% of births and even that is not really
a REAL huge danger. Its multiple wrappings that are more concern, and that
is also why midwifes attend (or doctors these days) - in CASE something
happens. Anyway I'm a mom of two little ones, both born naturally,
drug-free and the second born at home with a midwife. I also began a study
to become a childbirth educator but decided my path lie in a different
direction for now.

Kind regards,


Wendee Holtcamp -- GREENDESIGN Communications
Environment/Nature/Adventure-Travel Writing
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