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From The Editors Health

Cesarean Births ‘Affecting Human Evolution’ – Myth or Reality?

The C-section is a surgical procedure for delivering babies, meant to be recommended and performed when a normal vaginal delivery has the potential to create complications that can put the lives of mother and / or child at risk.

Though experts are not against the procedure itself, because of its life-saving potential, scientists believe that its use may have affected the human evolutionary process due to the rising trend of C-section procedures observed over a period of time.

The C-section delivery may be performed for a number of medical reasons to reduce or eliminate the risk factors involving a normal vaginal delivery – here is a list of some common scenarios where C-section becomes necessary:

* Abnormal positioning of the baby in the womb (uterus) medically referred to as “breech or transverse positions”.

* Indications in a pregnant woman, before or during childbirth, that the fetus may not be healthy – medically termed as “fetal distress”.

* Hypertension (high blood pressure) in the mother or baby after the waters breaking or “amniotic rupture”.

* Uterine rupture, a condition that can be potentially fatal to both mother and child – to put it simply, the wall of the uterus is damaged partially or completely.

* Tachycardia in the mother or baby after amniotic rupture (the waters breaking) – in layman terms, it means an increase in the resting heartbeat rate.

* Placenta complications

The above-mentioned complications are just a few among many others that make the C-section procedure a medical necessity for the safety of both mother and child.

According to researchers’ estimations, between 3 percent and 6 percent births, worldwide, require a C-section because of obstructions resulting from the mother’s pelvis being too small for the baby’s head and shoulders.

Although some form of the procedure has been in practice since ancient times, the surge in C-sections over the last few decades has become the cause for further study, if not concern, for researchers and scientists.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention 30 percent of all births in the U.S are by C-section, which was a mere 5 percent back in the seventies, and it is this upward trend that has led scientists to theorize that the invasive procedure is affecting human evolution – for better or for worse.

It is believed that the width of women’s pelvises and the size of babies’ heads were perfectly balanced over the history of human evolution. However, the increasing trend of C-section procedures may have caused the disproportion between the size of the mother’s pelvis and the baby’s head – either the baby’s head is too big or the mother’s pelvic girdle is too narrow for a normal delivery.

In earlier times this disproportion would have proved fatal for both mother and child, an “obstetric dilemma” according to scientists. The hypothesis is that during the course of our evolution the babies’ heads have grown in size while the mothers’ pelvises have narrowed, which actually is beneficial for both mother and child.

Bigger heads mean room for bigger brains and narrower hips enhance locomotion on two feet. However, nature has its uncanny ways of balancing things out – like finding a middle ground, for want of a better phrase.

The availability of the modern C-section and improvements in the procedure has somewhat diminished the “obstetric dilemma.”

Theoretical biologist Phillip Mitteroecker told Helen Briggs at the BBC: “Without modern medical intervention, such problems often were lethal and this is, from an evolutionary perspective, selection.”

So far, all we can say is that the theory of C-section affecting evolution is still just a theory based on certain birth statistics. More detailed studies and research would be required to confirm any link between C-sections and the human evolution.

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From The Editors Health Top 5

Top 5 Healthy Foods For Pregnancy

Eating for two doesn’t mean eating more, it means eating better, and usually it’s a nerve-wracking responsibility, especially with so much conflicting information. There is rarely a more nutritionally demanding time during a woman’s life than pregnancy.

During your pregnancy, there are a few things that might stress you out, but eating shouldn’t be one of them. Unfortunately, all of the advice you hear from friends, family, and yes, even total strangers — about what is and isn’t safe during pregnancy is enough to confuse anyone.

Proper nutrition can be a game changer during pregnancy. When it comes to making healthier food choices, your baby’s health depends on it and so does yours!

Here’s some advice from nutrition experts on their top pregnancy foods. You don’t need to like or eat them all, but pick and choose your favorites to give your pregnancy a nutritional boost.

#1 Eggs

Eggs
Eggs

Eggs are a phenomenal source of protein, fat, and other nutrients, including choline and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. In pregnant women, choline plays an important role helping to prevent certain birth defects, such as spina bifida and playing a role in brain development. Whether you like them fried, scrambled, hard-boiled or served as an omelet, eggs are the gold standard for the prenatal protein which is essential for pregnancy.

Healthy women with normal blood cholesterol can consume one to two eggs a day as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat, But if cholesterol is a concern for you, substitute egg whites for whole eggs.

#2 Beans

Beans&Lentils
Beans&Lentils

Navy beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, there are so many to choose from. Beans contain the most fiber and protein of all the vegetables. Try them in chili and soups, salads, and pasta dishes, they are also good sources of key nutrients, such as iron, folate, calcium, and zinc, an essential mineral that’s linked to a lower risk for preterm delivery, low birth weight and prolonged labor.

It’s important to get enough protein during pregnancy, but you may not yet realize that fiber could become your new best friend. When you’re pregnant, your gastrointestinal tract slows down, putting you at risk for constipation and hemorrhoids. Fiber can help prevent and relieve these problems.

#3 Lean Meat

Lean Meat
Lean Meat

Meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein, packed with iron and B vitamins, which helps build baby’s brain by strengthening nerve connections. Look for lean meats with the fat trimmed off. Your body needs a lot more protein now (about 25 extra grams a day) to help the fetus grow and to ensure his or her muscles develop properly.

Lean meat is an excellent option since it’s also high in iron, critical to helping your baby develop his red blood cell supply and support yours too.

#4 Colorful fruits and veggies

fruits and veggies
fruits and veggies

Eating plenty of green, red, orange, yellow, purple, and white fruits and vegetables ensures that you and your baby get a variety of nutrients. Each color group provides different vitamins and minerals. These super foods are especially important for moms-to-be and developing baby’s eyesight and aiding in bone and skin growth, that’s because, in addition to all those antioxidants, fruits and veggies supply calcium, potassium, fiber, and folate.

Another advantage of eating the fruit and veggie spectrum is, during the later stages of pregnancy, the baby ‘tastes’ the foods you eat through the amniotic fluid, If you expose your baby to a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables in the womb, you’ll increase the chance that your baby will recognize and accept those flavors later on.

#5 Oatmeal

Oatmeal
Oatmeal

Oats are full of fiber, B vitamins, iron and a host of other minerals. Start your morning off right with a nice big bowl of oatmeal. Whole grains are great for keeping your energy levels up, especially if morning sickness has you feeling a bit drained, they are important in pregnancy because they’re high in fiber and nutrients, including vitamin E, selenium, and phytonutrients (plant compounds that protect cells).

Aim to eat plenty along with a variety of other whole grains (whole corn, rice, quinoa, wheat, and barley) to up your dose of a slew of baby-building vitamins and minerals.