OB Dilemma

Modern humans are the only mammals where giving birth can be challenging and dangerous.

This is primarily due to the close match between the diameter of the pelvis and the size of the newborn head. Even a small variance between the maternal pelvis and fetal head dimension can lead to a “tight squeeze” for the baby.

It is puzzling that a process so essential for the survival of our species has such a complication rate.


For millions of years, giving birth was easy and straightforward. Approximately 5 million years ago our ancestors were tired of walking on all four limbs and decided to stand up on two legs. This made the human pelvis become smaller and narrower.

About 2 million years ago we decided we also wanted to be smart, so there was a massive increase in brain and head size. This now posed a new evolutionary challenge for the pelvis: narrow pelvis and big head.

Early humans were shorter, had smaller babies and the pelvis was wider. Modern humans are taller and as a result have larger babies with more pressure on the pelvic floor. A narrow birth canal is considered good for pregnancy and bad for childbirth; and a wide birth canal is bad for pregnancy and good for parturition.

The pregnant body makes the hormones relaxin and estrogen which contribute to the softening of ligaments in the body which enables the pelvis to soften and create a larger diameter to facilitate the delivery of the baby.

Over the past several decades, we have witnessed an increased cesarean rate in developed nations mainly because of this mismatch. In this country, obstetrical care is excellent. The clinicians are experts in counseling the expectant mother on nutrition, medical management and physical activity levels. They do this to keep the mother and the baby healthy throughout the entire pregnancy. Also, they are looking out for warning signs (which is what Verify-IMI does) for potential candidates at risk for cesarean delivery. Occasionally, the clinician may suggest having the baby early, in order to deliver a smaller baby.

Thank goodness cesarean section is safe for when it is needed.

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Women's Health Care of Warren