Hospital birth leads to epigenetic changes causing babies to be cuter and smarter

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Scientists probing the epigenetic changes surrounding birth have made a startling finding. Hospital birth leads to babies that are cuter and smarter!

What are epigenetic changes?

For years we have believed that all human traits are fully encoded in DNA and that environment has no impact on genetic characteristics. Recent research has shown, however, that the expression of certain genes can be modified by chemical changes that in turn are affected by environment. For example, children who live through famine grow up to be adults more likely to gain weight when adequate food is present. Furthermore, that this tendency to gain weight in the presence of adequate food can be inherited by offspring. Epigenetics allows for carefully calibrated expression of the genes that help an organism make the best possible use of the environment in which it finds itself.

Midwives and other natural childbirth advocates have seized upon epigenetics as a way of demonizing the interventions of modern obstetrics, arguing that hospital birth leads to epigenetic changes that cause obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease and other 21st Century ills of old age. But recent research has found precisely the opposite. The epigenetic changes of hospital birth are beneficial. Indeed, the epigenetics of hospital birth lead to babies that are cuter and smarter.

It’s not really surprising when you think about it. We don’t yet know very much about epigenetics, but we do know this: epigenetic changes allow the organism to better exploit its environment. As the example of famine shows, the epigenetic changes allowed individuals in a food poor environment to better exploit the small amount of food that was available by avidly scavenging every possible calorie from it. Yes, it is true that the epigenetic changes were no longer beneficial, and perhaps even harmful, if they were inherited by offspring whose environment was radically different, but the changes were certainly beneficial to the people who experienced them.

That’s why the prattling of midwives and natural childbirth advocates that the interventions of modern obstetrics cause harmful epigenetic effects makes no sense at all. To date we have found no evidence that epigenetic changes lead to unrelated harmful effects, or lead to harmful effects for offspring who live in a similar environment. There is no reason to believe that any epigenetic changes caused by C-sections or other obstetric interventions would lead to the diseases of old age found modern societies. That’s yet another pathetic effort by midwives to demonize any interventions that they cannot provide.

So how do the interventions of the hospital change the epigenetics of babies? According to Professor Gull E. Bull, the latest research indicates that the human body recognizes the environment of the hospital as an indication of superior attachment between mother and infant. Women who choose hospital birth value their children more than women who choose homebirth. Prof. Bull explains that as a result of this superior bond, babies are able to express their genetic intelligence and beauty to the fullest extent, leading to babies that are cuter and smarter than babies who are born at home. And because these are epigenetic changes, the grandchildren of those who choose hospital birth are cuter and smarter as well.

For example, the picture of the C-section born baby above demonstrates not only the superior bond between this mother and infant, but the fact that this baby is smart enough to talk and have a complete conversation with its mother at only 2 days old. No homebirth mother, no matter how much she “rocked” her vaginal birth, can make that claim about her baby.

As Prof. Bull notes, there is a tendency to view each new scientific discovery as the “explanation” for diseases with unknown cause, like autism, or diseases of old age that are found in wealthy societies. In the case of epigenetics, however, the changes occur because they benefit the organism. While they could potentially cause problems in offspring one or more generations removed, that would only happen if the environment were radically different. Therefore, the epigenetic changes associated with the interventions of modern obstetrics can all be expected to be beneficial to the organism that experiences the epigenetic changes.

The concern that a mother displays in choosing to give birth to her child in a hospital actually affects the expression of the child’s DNA, leading to cuter, smarter babies. Of course, that’s not why women choose hospital birth; they do so because they value the health of their child over their own birth “experience.” The fact that the healthy baby is cuter and smarter is just an unexpected bonus.

 

This piece is satire, but could ultimately turn out to be true.

  • ChadwicktheJones

    I laughed out loud at the title of the post… I enjoyed reading that, thanks!

  • Alcharisi

    I eagerly await a collaboration between Dr. Bull and Dr. Horace Schytte. I have no doubt that the resulting Bull-Schytte study will provide, er, rich fertilizer for the field.

    • araikwao

      *giggle*

  • Sue

    My daughter also got smarter with every vaccine. WHen she had her first, she could only babble. After the next few, she began to talk. A few more, and she was reading. After her HPV vaccine she started excelling in high school Latin exams. Great effect, isn’t it?

    • KarenJJ

      Wow – now that you mention it – my baby walked only DAYS after getting her MMR. I’d never made the connection between vaccinations and these sorts of reactions before.

      • me

        My baby took her first steps that same day! The connection was obvious to me ;)

        • Sarah

          Best comment thread ever!

    • Young CC Prof

      I find that rotavirus vaccine, combined with other newborn vaccines such as pertussis, can build teeth. It seems to take three applications to work, however.

  • Allie

    You didn’t “get” me since I knew you would not be endorsing a study without providing an analysis of its methodology. Didn’t you recently write about that very issue?

  • Laura

    My daughter was an induction epidural baby in the hospital, though no c-section. Her cousins were all natural birthed, and I’m convinced that she’s the cutest and smartest…but I’m also extremely biased ;)

  • Sarah

    Pwahahaha I knew I shouldn’t have raised Epigenetics in the micro biome comments! But love this piece!

  • Felicitasz

    This time, you pulled me in a bit further than usual. Although I found a bit odd that you are citing a research of which you do not give a proper linked reference in the first paragraph, I kept on reading nevertheless, waving any suspicions aside. Until I stumbled upon the professor’s name. Facepalm. I almost choked with suppressed laughter (family members sleeping around). Brilliant.

  • Cody

    Life is what you make of it! The birth of a child should always be a joy, regardless of the setting or circumstance. People fear the hospital and want to believe that they’ve stumbled onto something better.

  • RKD314

    Niiiice. You had me saying “What the heck?” to myself for a while there. Then I noticed that the guy’s last name was Bull. And I got suspicious. Then I checked out the whole name and I knew. You are good at this satire stuff!

  • Beth S

    All of the commenters are clearly wrong, I have the cutest kids in the world. I guess the C-section hospital birth I had was responsible for them being smart too!

  • VeritasLiberat

    You commenters don’t know what you’re talking about. Clearly you are sadly misguided.

    MY kids are the smartest and cutest ever. .

  • momofone

    This is definitely true. My son was born in a hospital (by c-section!), and he is the smartest, cutest kid ever!

  • Mel

    Now I have a good answer to the annoying question “How did you get to be so smart?” Yay! It totally beats my previous answer of “Um…. I read a lot….and yeah….”

  • Dr Kitty

    Love this.
    Someday I want you to leave the satire warning off though.

    Just like the staircase at my former office was its own exercise stress test (if you made it to my consulting room without chest pain or shortness of breath, you were passing the test) these posts are their own test of common sense and gullibility.

    If you need the satire disclaimer, you are not winning at life.

    • Young CC Prof

      Unfortunately, it takes more than common sense. It takes high-level English-language reading comprehension, and a lot of people don’t have that. For many reasons, including limited experience with the English language.

    • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

      On the other hand, it’s iron clad proof that they didn’t actually read the whole thing and it’s a simple counter to those who would misquote it without context.

      • KarenJJ

        I’d forgotten that. Not the brightest spark in the universe that one..

    • KarenJJ

      Dr Amy deliberately makes stuff up about epigenetics and it needs a satire disclaimer. NCB advocates deliberately make stuff up about epigenetics and call it “science”..

  • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

    I know you would all like to think that it was the hospital and the c-section that made my kids the cutest kids in the world, but it’s not.

    It’s not epigenitic, it’s simple genetics.

    • Siri

      I didn’t realise Modesty was your middle name? ;-b

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        I am not ashamed to admit it. My kids take after the mother.

  • ngozi

    Let me know when Professor Gull E. Bull speaks at a “YoniFest.” I’m gonna be there, or be square!!

  • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

    Thank you for explaining why my three children and two grandchildren are obviously happier, healthier, smarter, and better looking than homebirthed children

    • Siri

      Presumably my beautiful homeborn daughter with the genius IQ and model’s figure is piggybacking off her hospital-born siblings? Either that, or the exception that proves the rule… ;-)

      • momofone

        Just think how smart she COULD have been! :)

        • Siri

          I know, right?! Hindsight… :-)

  • jhr

    Like Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”–the “unreliable” narrator in this piece has nailed it!

  • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

    More proof – hospital born babies are less likely to believe in far fetched conspiracy theories when they get older and more likely to be able to distinguish between science and pseudo-science. As a result they spend less money on weight loss and other scams once they mature. So they are not only cuter and smarter – but richer.

    • Young CC Prof

      That and hospital babies presumably devote fewer resources to staying alive in their first few hours or days of life. Which would make them smarter, healthier, and possibly taller.

    • FrequentFlyer

      I hadn’t thought of the added wealth, but that’s great! Surely my two incredibly smart, handsome cs boys will grow up to be kind and generous men. They will be so grateful to me for going to a hospital that they will make sure that I live like a queen in my old age. Yeah hospitals!

    • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

      Further, hospital born babies appear to be more likely to reproduce in the first place as they have an easier time finding mates as their parents (potential in-laws) are perceived to be more normal than their home-birthed peers…

      • fiftyfifty1

        “their parents (potential in-laws) are perceived to be more normal”

        And not just perceived to be more normal, actually more normal. I love my parents (former home birthers) truly I do, but I know that my parents were not easy in-laws to adapt to for any of their sons or daughters in-law.

  • Elizabeth A

    This totally explains my daughter! All that hospital time made her cuter, and cuter, and cuter, which is why she is now almost paralytic levels of adorable, as well as smarter than anyone else’s kid.

  • Young CC Prof

    I’ve read Prof Bull’s work! Absolutely fascinating. I believe I heard her speak last year at a conference in Ocean View, Illinois.