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Will we ever evolve to give birth painlessly/safely?

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    Not study help, but thought this was appropriate forum

    This has bothered me for ages!

    How is it that giving birth is still such a painful and dangerous process? Why hasn't this been 'naturally selected out' by now?

    I know that in our society these days, we generally think of giving birth as something safe, but there's no doubt that there are still so many risks. An estimated 1/7 pregnancies end in miscarriage

    How is it that the very life process which is essential for the continuation of human life is still so likely to go wrong?

    I'm sure someones going to come up with a very simple answer for me, but I'm going to risk it because I just don't get it...
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    We've been giving birth the same way for thousands of years. Also, you would need to change the female anatomy, which would cause other problems, includin toilet habits. So, no.
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    (Original post by justmyopinions)
    We've been giving birth the same way for thousands of years. Also, you would need to change the female anatomy, which would cause other problems, includin toilet habits. So, no.
    Yeah, but that is what evolution can do - it can change anatomy, and it would take thousands of years
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    We seem to have traded less painful childbirth for large brains and smaller pelvises to facilitate standing upright. I think we'll just have to rely on modern medicine to help us for now. I'm terrified of childbirth, no way am I getting pregnant!
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    (Original post by rainbow.panda)
    We seem to have traded less painful childbirth for large brains and smaller pelvises to facilitate standing upright. I think we'll just have to rely on modern medicine to help us for now. I'm terrified of childbirth, no way am I getting pregnant!
    Haha same here! I think I'd rather have a tiny brain and abnormally large pelvis...
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    (Original post by sammy-lou)
    Haha same here! I think I'd rather have a tiny brain and abnormally large pelvis...
    If I were ever to change my mind about having kids I'd make the doctors jack me up with every drug they could give me
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    (Original post by justmyopinions)
    We've been giving birth the same way for thousands of years. Also, you would need to change the female anatomy, which would cause other problems, includin toilet habits. So, no.
    I'm gonna agree with this.

    There is no animal on this planet that gives birth 100% safely. Even other animals sometimes die in childbirth.


    OP (and rainbowpanda) - for what it's worth, as painful as childbirth is, it's worth it when you see your baby at the end. I wouldn't have gone through it three times if I didn't totally believe that
    Oh and definitely take the drugs
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    Birth is a very natural thing. To be honest I think its hospital culture that have made it a lot more stressful than it should be. I speculate that when were still making weapons with rocks, we were much more able to deal with pain, as are animals. Modern people as they are do not have to deal with pain, therefore my guess is we're a lot less...sturdy...not to mention the rush of endorphins etc you get after giving birth that makes you forget the whole thing. If that didn't happen, noone would have another child, including cavewomen

    Besides this, you have to look at our birth in comparison to other creatures. As humans we view the death of even one mother/ baby as tragic, to nature the most important thing is for the baby to survive, and mum will just have to deal with the pain/ wounds. Stillbirth/miscarriages/mothers dying during childbirth is just not uncommon in nature, unfortunately.
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    I would have thought we have less chance now than we ever have as complications in childbirth no longer pose such a large risk of death, so it isn't likely that we will evolve to make childbirth less painful as it is no longer a threat to our survival.
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    Natural selection works through the 'best' being able to reproduce more. A person who is stronger and more attractive will obviously have more reproductive chances.

    However, all woman must go through pain to give birth. As most women do give birth... painful birth will always remain.

    A woman who feels less pain through birth isn't going to get more reproductive chances. Because no one is interested, that's not what men are looking for in a potential reproductive partner!


    We have evolved larger brains - the more intelligent got many more reproductive chances, hence the growth of the human brain, skull, head. We have also evolved smaller hips to allow us to walk upright.

    So we've had two things going on - smaller hips and bigger heads (from intelligence) being more sought after and thus "evolving" traits, and the pain of woman in birth that has never been anything other than standard.
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    Modern life makes things more difficult, in honesty. We're not eating that which we evolved to, exercising less, etc. All adds up and screws with natural processes. Periods would probably cycle over 6 months naturally...
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    No we won't, we're going the other way. Our heads are getting larger but the female pelvis isn't increasing in size because whenever a baby does get stuck, or heavy bleeding occurs after birth, we have a medical team on stand-by to do a caesarian or to stem the bleeding. I'd imagine you'd be more likely to see it occur in tribal areas of Africa, since often birth is without any medical intervention and carries more of a selective opportunity.

    I personally think there will be a time where all births are done via caesarian because it will become mechanically impossible to give birth naturally, or frankly for ease. I could also envisage a culture shift where giving birth naturally is seen as dirty and degrading, what lesser beings do.
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    (Original post by sammy-lou)
    Yeah, but that is what evolution can do - it can change anatomy, and it would take thousands of years
    so nothing for us to worry about for now.
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    no.
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    I can't see any evolutionary advantage to birth being painless. There's nothing about a mother experiencing pain that should prevent her giving birth safely and looking after her child well.

    Obviously births would (without the intervention of medical science) eventually become safer because a complications during birth are detrimental to the well-being of the child (and even complications for the mother despite a healthy baby will affect her ability to care for the child). Of course, since medicine moves a lot faster than evolution, it's unlikely that we'll see any evolutionary change in this area (unless we decide to go all Spartan and leave less healthy babies to die) for as long as humanity exists.

    As for why it's still so dangerous - making another human being is really a staggeringly complex thing for the body to do, especially with the long gestation period humans have.
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    Somebody's never heard of orgasmic births :sexface:
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    What causes evolution? Adaptations that give individuals better chance of breeding and passing on their genes.

    Less painful/dangerous process probably would cause better chances of having more than one child, but probably wouldn't be a factor that would effect the choosing of a mate, or surviving to breeding age.

    Also, we've pretty much stopped evolving, we no longer allow our external circumstances to affect us, we change them. And these days, with pain relief, caesarians etc. we aren't gonna be changing much in the future.

    Also, most people these days have opportunity to have kids/pass on their genes. With most genes being passed on/surviving, evolution (by survival of the fittest) no longer really occurs.
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    I honestly love it when TSR makes me feel stupid haha, thanks for the answers everyone!
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    The joys of being a man
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    Evolution doesn't work like that. Characteristics aren't weeded out by natural selection unless they have a direct effect on an organism's ability to reproduce. Childbirth being painful doesn't limit one's reproductive output, so there is no selection pressure against it.

    If the pain was so intolerable that women died regularly from it then yes, given a few hundred thousand years you might see an evolutionary change.

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