Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives How Evolution Has Shaped Women's Health

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-05-27
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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How has bipedalism impacted human childbirth? Do PMS and postpartum depression have specific, maybe even beneficial, functions? These are only two of the many questions that specialists in evolutionary medicine seek to answer, and that anthropologist Wenda Trevathan addresses in Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives. Exploring a range of women's health issues that may be viewed through an evolutionary lens, specifically focusing on reproduction, Trevathan delves into issues such as the medical consequences of early puberty in girls, the impact of migration, culture change, and poverty on reproductive health, and how fetal growth retardation affects health in later life. Hypothesizing that many of the health challenges faced by women today result from a mismatch between how their bodies have evolved and the contemporary environments in which modern humans live, Trevathan sheds light on the power and potential of examining the human life cycle from an evolutionary perspective, and how this could improve our understanding of women's health and our ability to confront health challenges in more creative, effective ways.

Author Biography

Wenda Trevathan, PhD, is the Regents Professor of Anthropology at New Mexico State University. A biological anthropologist whose research focuses on the evolutionary and biocultural factors underlying human reproduction, she published Evolutionary Medicine and Health: New Perspectives in 2008 with OUP.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vi
Introduction: What Does Evolution Have to Do with Women's Health?p. 3
Are We Grown Up Yet?p. 23
Vicious Cyclesp. 41
Getting Pregnant: Why Can't Everyone Just Get Along?p. 62
Staying Pregnantp. 75
Welcome to the Worldp. 90
The Greasy, Helpless One-Hour-Old Human Newbornp. 108
Women are Defined by Their Breastsp. 122
But Women are More than Breastsp. 145
If Reproduction Is What It's All About, Why Does It Stop?p. 156
What Good are Old Women? Quite a Lot, Thank Youp. 171
Implications for Women's Health in the 21st Century-and Preventing the Epidemiological Collisionp. 185
Notesp. 197
Referencesp. 218
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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