Vaginal Birth Triggers Brain Boost, C-Section Doesn’t: Part of Nature’s Plan for Intelligence?

Along with the cascade of benefits that most Mothering readers already know comes with vaginal birth, new research from Yale has identified yet another: vaginal birth triggers the expression of a protein in baby’s brain cells that optimizes development of the hippocampus — an area central to such “complex behaviors in the adult” as learning, memory, and stress response. C-section delivery may actually impair this protein’s expression.

I find it of interest that earlier this year another study came out linking early nurturing by mothers with larger hippocampal regions in school-aged children. And while the Yale study is very preliminary — using mice, not humans — to me it all points to a notion I hold dear: Nature has an elegant plan for the unfolding of optimal human intelligence (including the required brain structures to mediate that intelligence), and it involves such quaintly natural things as birthing through the birth canal and letting mothers closely nurture their young ones! {Please continue reading at}

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2 Responses to “Vaginal Birth Triggers Brain Boost, C-Section Doesn’t: Part of Nature’s Plan for Intelligence?”

  1. Barbara says:

    Having a whole-baby & whole-mother pair, who experience the full physiological event that birth is supposed to be is the ideal for a healthy mother and baby.

    Natural birth is not just a romantic notion for crunchy people, but a birth rite which heaps all of natures gifts for survival and well being into the mother baby pair.

    Natural physiological birth should be on everyone’s agenda if they care about the emotional & physical well being of humanity.

    Great Post Marcy!

    • Marcy Axness says:

      Thank you, Barbara! Keep up the beautiful work you do in helping more moms experience empowered birth.

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