Childbirth and the Future of Homo Sapiens Paperback – 4 Jun 2013
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About the Author
Michel Odent, MD, has been in charge of the surgical unit and the maternity unit at the Pithiviers (France) state hospital (1962-1985) and is the founder of the Primal Health Research Centre (London). In the 1970s he introduced the concepts of home-like birthing rooms and birthing pools in maternity hospitals.
He is the author of the first article in the medical literature about the use of birthing pools (Lancet 1983), of the first article about the initiation of lactation during the hour following birth, and of the first article applying the 'Gate Control Theory of Pain' to obstetrics. He created the Primal Health Research database (www.primalhealthresearch.com) and the website www.wombecology.com. He is the author of 13 books published in 22 languages and author (or co-author) of 92 articles listed in www.pubmed.com.
His most recent two books, Childbirth in the Age of Plastics and The Functions of the Orgasms, are also published by Pinter & Martin.
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Top Customer Reviews
Hard data is now confirming that this massive change to how we are born and how we give birth has long-term consequences on human health - and yet compared to other areas where science is having an impact, academics and the media alike are curiously silent. Now Michel Odent's incisive new book Childbirth and the Future of Homosapiens, sounds a trumpet - a thankfully loud and clear one - and birth professionals, pregnant women, and society at large need to heed it.
Odent casts his calm, clinician's eye to explosive effect : 'There is one spectacular example of a human physiological function that has become suddenly less useful,' he says. 'It is the oxytocin system. There are no other examples of physiological systems that have been made useless under the effect of changes in lifestyle.' A deterioration, he warns, that is now impacting the physical and emotional health of the human race. Ever the frontiersman, Odent marches into territory noone else wants to explore, leading us with a firm grip and making us consider the consequences of remaindering such a key part of human physiology Rises in autism, anorexia, diabetes and allergies can all be linked he claims, research he confidently and democratically invites readers to share in the opening chapter.
Wedged as it is between feminism's demand for choice and the medical establishment's insistence on zero-risk, normal birth is disappearing - but Michel Odent reminds us that childbirth is above and beyond normal social parameters. How the human race arrives is an issue of evolution.
The increased difficulties in modern birth raise questions about the consequences (among many others) of an underuse of the human oxytocin system, when giving birth and breastfeeding, the bacterial colonization of a newborn's body--depending on whether birth was vaginally or by caesarean--and the impact on immune responses.
Cultural conditioning renders the majority of women unable to give birth without interference. When pregnancies are highly medicalised, women are subjected to unnecessary anxiety that interferes with the optimal development of the baby in the womb.
The strongest possible cocktail of love hormones a woman has the capacity to release during her whole life comes between the birth of her baby and the delivery of the placenta and it is during this phase that the most invasive procedures have been introduced, disturbing the interaction between mother and baby and the initiation of breastfeeding. What effect might this disturbance have too upon emotional states at this crucial period of brain structure development?
In the framework of an active management of evolution, the basic needs of labouring women should be rediscovered from the physiological perspective--this is not just some utopian objective but significant for the future of humanity.
The book is as provocative scientifically as Odent's other work. Fascinating but difficult to read prose.
Is it really possible that we need modern science to awaken our common sense? In a world that needed science to show that a woman (in labour or otherwise) should drink when she's thirsty, it would appear we do. Odent makes a compelling (and extremely well supported) argument that it is time to apply science to the question of how babies are born and the implications this has for us as a species.
An extremely readable book, but one that needs more than one read...enjoy!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Builds on his previous work and elaborates much further. Must read for expecting parents - although the beginning is a bit slow and can safely be omittedPublished on 22 July 2014 by Max