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MICROBIRTH ~ the movie

On Feb. 21st, 2015, I saw “Microbirth”. I know that not everyone will get a chance to see it so I wanted to share with you my take-away as the general messages of the movie. I feel like it addressed everything I already knew to be true, but made it more valid with the science behind it.

Basically it is saying that there might be another component to optimal health in addition to what we currently already acknowledge.  What we currently categorize as the basics of contributing to poor health are drugs use, alcohol use, lack of exercise, and poor diet.  What happens (or doesn’t happen) at birth, might be a very significant 5th component.

The fact that this movie is based on:  humans are 90% microbial and 10% mammalian.

We may be altering the course of humanity by the way we do birth.  This is a global problem, not just an American problem.  Just as scientists told us for centuries that we were altering planet earth and needed to rectify our practices in order to preserve it, the same thing is now happening with regard to the human body and it’s ability to fight off disease.

If you cut half the trees out of the forest, you will absolutely alter that forest and the way microorganisms survive there.  The same is true of our bodies.  When significant  portions of populations have babies who do not travel the vaginal canal of the mother where all the proper gut bacteria are transferred from mom to baby, that new baby will not have the proper amount and derivation of microbes that it should have for optimal health.  Vaginal birth is critical for future health. When 30%  - 50% of a population is being born surgically, that results are on a catastrophic level, both health wise and financially.  By 2030, it is estimated that we will spend $47 trillion on health care.  That’s not sustainable.  There won’t be enough workers to take care of the sick and dying.

Gut microbes are essential and they are adequately gained with vaginal birth, skin to skin contact between newborn and mom, and breastfeeding. Breastmilk contains the sugars necessary for the bacteria to grow and develop. There is one chance for optimal health with the immune system (vaginal birth, skin to skin, and breastfeeding) and 30% of Americans don’t get it.  50% of the Chinese population don’t get it.  90% of the Brazilian population doesn’t get it.  When we miss this opportunity for optimal health, our immune system doesn’t develop properly, making our children more prone to disease. Therefore we know that there are long term consequences of being born by c-section.  Essential bacteria has been bypassed by not coming through the birth canal.

Also, synthetic drugs given during labor have an effect on both mom & baby’s microbial make-up.  Animals are showing that those exposed to synthetic drugs during labor have long term negative effects. When we use synthetic drugs during labor, we are interfering with biological necessities.  It’s unethical because we don’t know the repercussions yet.

In cesarean births and births where drugs are on board, the baby still needs to acquire bacteria, so they accumulate them in the setting surrounding them, not from mom’s vagina.  These babies immune systems are being primped by the wrong bacteria! This moves into the concept of epigenetics being compromised for future generations. Could a generation of c-section babies break the chain of microbial maternal links from grandmother to daughter to granddaughter, and so on? We don’t know the repercussions yet.  We do know that behavioral alterations can develop.

In instances where vaginal birth is not possible and cesarean birth in necessary, scientists are studying the effects of “swabbing”. Basically a large gauze pad is folded down very small and placed in the woman’s vagina for the hour prior to the surgical birth.  Once baby is born, the gauze and all of the bacteria on it are rubbed all over the baby.  Afterwards, skin to skin is critical. Breastfeeding is essential. With these steps in place, these cesarean born babies stand a chance of developing an optimal health situation. Swabbing is not a substitute for the benefits of hormones and stresses that natural labor and vaginal delivery present, however, it should be helpful in supporting the baby getting better microbes.

As c-sections have dramatically increased over the last few decades, there are four childhood diseases that have increased dramatically over time ~ asthma, Type I diabetes, celiac disease, and obesity.  Because of low microbial diversity, these non communicable childhood diseases increase the chance of other diseases as the child grows into an adult, like cancer, etc.

The relationship between cesarean birth and obesity is very little, but when you multiple “very little” by 1/3 of an entire population, the results are catastrophic.  A lot of this obesity has to do with the genes you inherited (or didn’t inherit) at birth.

With regard to current popular practices of birth, we are disturbing the normal balance of humans. Warnings of us hurting our planet were ignored for a long time. Now warnings of us hurting humanity are bing ignored. It will result in a huge health crisis in the next generations that will bankrupt future generations.

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These are the key points I garnered from watching the film.  If you have any questions about my summary, please watch the movie yourself and glean from it your own synopsis.  I am by no means trying to “convince” anyone of anything.  :)

Blessings to us all,

Linda Goldsmith