Sarah Terry
December 06, 2016 3:29 pm
Irina Ippolitova / Shutterstock

Technology and modern medicine has brought us a long way in the last hundred years. So many diseases that used to be life threatening can now be cured. Women’s health has come leaps and bounds as well. In fact, according to scientists, Cesarian births are affecting human evolution.

Thanks to modern medicine and birth techniques, women who might not have had successful pregnancies back in the day celebrate happy, healthy bundles of joy. It’s a bit grim, but many women would not have survived birth one hundred years ago. But now, with all the medical help we have, those women are having beautiful families and passing on their genes, which are altering the human gene pool.

Women with narrow pelvises often have trouble giving birth, because the baby doesn’t fit down the birth canal.

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Today, that condition can be solved with surgery. The specific name for that kind of narrow pelvis is “fetopelvic disproportion,” and it’s becoming more common, leading doctors to ask why. In 1960, roughly 30 in 1,000 women (3%) were reported having a narrow pelvis. Today, that number has grown to 36 in 1,000 women (3.6%).

The reason for the increased numbers is kinda morbid, but interesting.

Yikes, we don’t really want to think about how often women in history died in childbirth. But it’s interesting that a simple surgical solution means that the genes for small pelvises are more common now than they were before.

Scientists note that, while interesting, we shouldn’t worry about the trend toward C-sections getting out of hand.

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Dr. Mitteroecker admits that the trend toward more C-sections may continue, but he doesn’t think we will get to the point where a majority of babies are born via C-section. Dr. Mitteroecker also noted that there are more troubling pregnancy statistics that could cause an evolutionary change. The increase in obesity rates and the increase in mothers with diabetes could present concern from an evolutionary standpoint.

Still it’s sobering to know how much small changes can affect humanity as a whole.

Nevertheless, we’re grateful to modern science for making childbirth much less dangerous than it used to be.

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