By Wenda Trevathan Ph.D.

Winner of the 2011 W.W. Howells e-book Award of the yank Anthropological Association

How has bipedalism impacted human childbirth? Do PMS and postpartum melancholy have particular, perhaps even priceless, features? those are just of the various questions that experts in evolutionary drugs search to reply to, and that anthropologist Wenda Trevathan addresses in Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives.

Exploring more than a few women's healthiness matters that could be seen via an evolutionary lens, in particular targeting replica, Trevathan delves into matters resembling the scientific outcomes of early puberty in ladies, the impression of migration, tradition swap, and poverty on reproductive overall healthiness, and the way fetal development retardation impacts wellbeing and fitness in later lifestyles. Hypothesizing that the various health and wellbeing demanding situations confronted via ladies at the present time outcome from a mismatch among how their our bodies have developed and the modern environments during which glossy people stay, Trevathan sheds mild at the energy and capability of studying the human existence cycle from an evolutionary viewpoint, and the way this would increase our realizing of women's wellbeing and fitness and our skill to confront future health demanding situations in additional inventive, potent ways.

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Additional resources for Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women's Health

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The number on the bottom line (160 for women in foraging cultures and 450 for contemporary women using contraception) begs the question of the impact of highly frequent menstrual cycling on women’s health. Following Roger Short,4 women’s bodies were not ‘‘designed’’ to be exposed to 400 or more monthly rises and falls in hormones, with the associated effects on cell turnover rates, especially in breasts and uterus. , 1999.

1 But things may not be that simple, and to examine this further, we need to know what factors trigger menarche, the beginning of ovarian function. Growing Up The years between childhood and adulthood are variously called adolescence, puberty, teenage, youth—the terms tend to be used interchangeably in popular 23 24 Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives 17 Finland Sweden Norway Italy (north) UK (south) US (middle class) Age (Years) 16 15 14 13 12 1840 1860 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 Year of Menarche Figure 1-1 Declining age at menarche for selected European countries and the United States.

Another change that demographers, pediatricians, and parents have paid attention to is the age at which girls reach sexual maturity. If you ask women centenarians when they had their first menstrual period, most will give figures that are several months to several years older than the age girls first menstruate today. In the 1940s, girls in the United States started menstruating at about age 13, but today healthy American girls are having their first periods about six months earlier. Another is a parallel (although inverse) increase in stature documented over the same period.

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