Almgren M, Schlinzig T, Gomez-Cabrero D, Gunnar A, Sundin M, Johansson S, Norman M, Ekström TJ Cesarean delivery and hematopoietic stem cell epigenetics in the newborn infant: implications for future health?. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014; S0002-9378:(14)00465-7

Childbirth and the future of homo sapiens

02 October 2014
Volume 22 · Issue 10

Michel Odent's ‘Childbirth and the future of Homo Sapiens’ (2013) aims to promote and inform discussion and debate around the changing views of childbirth around the world. Odent's views have always tended to polarise opinion among professionals and the public, and this book operates in the same way. Strong assertions are made about the links between autism spectrum disorders and anorexia nervosa, which are based on Dr Odent's own research, and are not generally supported in the wider medical field.

Many of the claims made in the book are in direct opposition to modern midwifery practice in the UK, and prompt further reading and reflection. For instance, the concepts of encouraging labouring women to mobilise as much as possible and to maintain an intake of energy-rich food and drink are directly challenged within the book, as resulting in raised adrenaline levels and possibly causing fetal compromise. As an advocate of woman-led care provision, the challenges that Dr Odent presents within the book encouraged me to read further and examine my own evidence-base for the advice which I offer to women.

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