A Cost Accounting of Birth


In contrast to the Old Testament, which blamed the pain of childbirth on sin, evolutionary biologists in the late twentieth century proposed the obstetrical dilemma: the human birth process was difficult and dangerous because the baby’s encephalized head had to pass through a mother’s bipedal birth canal. This hypothesis, well accepted through the turn of the century, and even still accepted by some, contended that the change in pelvic shape when humans began to walk, and the increase in brain size of the infant, pushed the birthing process to the edge of what was possible.

It’s an edge most birthing women have experienced.