Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Curvier spines aid pregnant women

  1. #1

    Default Curvier spines aid pregnant women


    Curvier spines aid pregnant women


    Women evolved curvier spines than men to stop them wobbling under the weight of pregnancy, researchers say.

    Harvard University experts say without the extra bend, humans' upright-walking ancestors would not have been able to escape predators while pregnant.

    They would also have been crippled by back pain, says the Nature study.

    The theory was strengthened when the difference was spotted in the female remains of Australopithecus, a prehistoric "relative" of humans.


    Without the adaptation, pregnancy would have placed a heavier burden on back muscles, causing considerable pain and fatigue and possibly limiting foraging capacity and the ability to escape from predators


    The transition to upright walking was one of the key shifts in the evolution of man, but it had one unwanted consequence for pregnant females.


    In primates, the weight of a pregnancy falls relatively comfortably under the belly, but in humans, it sits in front, pushing the body's centre of gravity forward, and throwing it out of balance.

    Both men and women have a curve in the lower section of their spines, but in women, the Harvard researchers found, the curve extends over a longer section of spinal vertebrae.

    The difference lets women adjust their posture to keep themselves in balance and in less discomfort from lower back pain, even in the last few months of pregnancy, when the abdomen can weigh almost 7kg more than normal.

    The researchers said that if the change had happened through direct evolution following the shift to upright walking, then some hominids - our prehistoric ancestors - would also show it.

    Examination of remains of Australopithicus, which lived approximately two million years after the first bipeds, revealed the same difference between males and females.


    Harvard anthropologist Liza Shapiro said: "Natural selection favoured this adaptation because it reduces extra stress on a pregnant female's spine.

    "Without the adaptation, pregnancy would have placed a heavier burden on back muscles, causing considerable pain and fatigue and possibly limiting foraging capacity and the ability to escape from predators.

    "Any mother can attest to the awkwardness of standing and walking while balancing pregnancy weight in front of the body.

    "Yet our research shows their spines have evolved to make pregnancy safer and less painful than it might have been if these adaptations had not occurred."



    Spinal expert Dr Peter Dangerfield, from the University of Liverpool, said that an alternative explanation for the difference between the sexes also lay in childbirth, as a side-effect of the evolution of a female pelvis capable of giving birth to the relatively large-skulled human baby.

    He said that the evolutionary shift to upright-walking had produced several consequences for humans - not all of them positive.

    "Now, of course, we have the high morbidity in older adults from back pain, which is a direct result of standing upright."


    STAYING UPRIGHT: SPINAL SECRETS
    Effect of pregnancy
    In primates, the weight of pregnancy does not affect the centre of gravity or place extra stresses on the spine.
    In humans, the upright posture cannot cope as well, as the centre of gravity is pushed forward later in pregnancy.
    Scientists believe that human females evolved a more pronounced bend in the lower spine compared with men to allow them to lean further backwards and stay in balance.

    BBC NEWS | Health | Curvier spines aid pregnant women

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, ready to meet peeps IRL
    Posts
    2,221

    Default

    Gee my back pain was so bad while pg I could imagine it been any worse with a straighter back. Yeah for evolotion(sp?)...

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    South Eastern Suburbs, Vic
    Posts
    6,054

    Default

    What? So my good posture is bad? I wonder if my straight standing is why I carried River posterior...

    I also wonder if my standing straight is why I lose my balance a lot when pregnant? Or...am I just an unco?

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Rural NSW
    Posts
    6,975

    Default

    Hmm, very interesting. I've got a "sway" back, meaning the lower part of my spine goes in very deep (making buying pants a pain! There is always a "gape"). And I have never really experienced any back pain in pregnancy... or at all really. I always new I was a highly evolved speciman hehe

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    135

    Default

    Does scholiosis (sp?) count as being evolved??

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    hoppers crossing
    Posts
    2,380

    Default

    wow...go us ladies. that ius hwy men couldnt stand pregancy lol.

    my spin must be not to obad as i didnt have any back discomfort during mine.

  7. #7
    kirsty_lee Guest

    Default

    haha curvature of the spine being a good thing!!! tell my scoliosis that.. soooooo painful

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Rural NSW
    Posts
    6,975

    Default

    I don't have scoliosis... it's just how I am.... never had any back pain.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    5,310

    Default

    Scoliosis is a different kind of curve than this I think, it curves to the side and not 'in'...?

    Bath, I am like you, I have a sway back also, so theoretically I shouldn't have back pain or be unco during pregnancy

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Taking a ride on my grdonkey :D
    Posts
    2,716

    Default

    Ugh, as IF lol... I have curves at the top AND bottom (scholiosis - bung shoulders/upper back, and 'sway back' - inward curvature in the lower back) and my back fricking KILLS me - to the point where even if I desperately did want another baby, I'd pursue adoption over carrying another one because I just can't do it to my body anymore It got worse this time around than it was with DD and I thought NOTHING could be worse than how I felt with DD!!

    So um... hooray for evolution lol. But somehow I missed out on the benefits and copped all the bad bits lol

  11. #11
    kirsty_lee Guest

    Default

    LOL tell that to my scoliosis!!! I was in so much bloody pain with ava i couldn't wait to hurry up and give birth! although.. epidurals + scoliosis.. not fun

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    4,081

    Default

    Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine. The curvature in the article is referring to the anterior/posterior curvature of the spine. (The spine's natural lordosis and kyphosis.)
    I would think that it'd be pretty damn hard for us to be balanced in an upright position and still be flexible without those curves though, KWIM? It's interesting to hear the experts say it could be due to pregnancy! I would've thought the curves would be necessary for both men and women to simply move around as freely as we do.

Similar Threads

  1. VBAC / EBAC Discussion #3
    By Lea13 in forum Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC), HBAC & Vaginal Breech Birth
    Replies: 141
    Last Post: April 18th, 2007, 09:21 AM
  2. What does RLT actually DO?
    By Janie in forum Birth Forums
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: March 20th, 2007, 09:24 PM
  3. Polycystic ovary syndrome: Can I still get pregnant?
    By Mandi in forum Endometriosis / PCOS Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: November 8th, 2003, 07:10 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •