Expectant mothers who can affortd it are fleeing the NHS for home births
Hospitals are in theory safer but NHS hospitals don’t fit the theory
Four hours after giving birth, Anna Walker was lying in her own bed, drinking champagne. It had been a short journey from the front room, where she had been attended by a private midwife, as she gave birth to son Tommy at home in Hampshire.
Mrs Walker is part of a growing trend; professional, middle-class women who are used to paying for the best, and are prepared to spend thousands of pounds to ensure that the birth of their child runs as smoothly as the rest of their life.
While total numbers are small, they are rising sharply. According to new figures, last year more than 1,000 women paid for the service; a three-fold rise, in less than a decade.
Demand has become so high in parts of London and the South East that expectant mothers have been unable to find a private midwife to assist them.
The self-employed midwives – who charge between £1,800 and £4,000 for a birth – say their services are especially popular among well-educated women, and older expectant mothers, who have often been horrified by previous experiences of NHS maternity units.
Earlier this year, the head of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said services were “teetering on the brink” of crisis, as the number of midwives fails to keep up with rising birth rates.
Although the NHS says women should be given the option of a home birth, staff shortages mean many of those with such intentions still end up being rushed to crowded wards.
Mothers’ groups say that for those who can afford them, private midwives offer expectant mothers some degree of control over the kind of care they receive, and the chance to establish a relationship with one midwife, rather than being seen by a succession of strangers.
For Mrs Walker, 37, who gave birth to Tommy, her first child, last year, that meant spending £3,000 – the price of a good holiday, for her and husband Matthew, who run their own communications business.
She said: “I had heard all about my friends’ experiences of NHS maternity care, and none of the stories were positive. I wanted to give birth at home with a midwife I had got to know. “I knew that while the NHS said you could have a home birth, that could change on the day; I didn’t want to take the luck of the draw, and end up with the bright lights of a hospital, and strangers rushing in and out, changing shifts.”
Instead, she was able to establish a relationship with the midwife they hired. On the day her labour started, last March, she felt calm and reassured, and found the experience of a water birth, in their front room “amazing”. She said: “I gave birth to Tommy at 6.01pm. By 10 o’ clock, I was back in my own bed, drinking champagne. It was perfect.”
Mrs Walker is in many ways typical of the women prepared to pay for a good birth.
Eleanor May-Johnson, from Independent Midwives UK, said: “A lot of the women who seek out an independent midwife tend to be a bit older, often over the age of 35, and while they aren’t always well-off, the majority are well-educated. “They know that they want a home birth, and they know that while the NHS says they can have one, that can be taken away from them at the last minute.”
The midwife, who last year had the highest number of clients since she began private practice seven years ago, said concerns about the standard of NHS maternity care were one of the main reasons for the rising numbers.
Mrs May-Johnson said: “There are parts of the country, especially London and the South East, where the number of independent midwives can’t keep up with the demand. “Those tend to be the same areas where the NHS maternity services are under pressure, and turning away women in labour.”
The organisation’s figures show the number of births involving private midwives increased from 350 in 2002 to just over 1,000 last year. Even these statistics are likely to provide an underestimate, since the group’s membership covers about 70 per cent of independent midwives.
Separate figures show that last year, a further 2,000 mothers-to-be paid up to £500 each for “doulas” – birth coaches – to give them one-to-one support through an NHS birth.
The rising popularity of doulas – who have no specific training or qualifications – has proved contentious. While many women who have hired doulas – the Greek word for slave – say they have provided comfort and reassurance, senior hospital doctors have accused them of interfering, and creating dangerous levels of conflict in the delivery suite.
Cathy Ranson of campaign group Netmums said: “Our research has found NHS maternity services are very stretched. Some women are choosing independent midwives and doulas in an attempt to get more control over the kind of care they receive.”
Earlier this year, the RCM said maternity units were reaching “breaking point” as midwife numbers fail to keep pace with a baby boom. In the last decade, the birthrate has risen by 19 per cent, while midwife numbers rose by 12 per cent – leaving a shortfall of more than 4,000 midwives across the service.
Last year, an NHS survey of 25,000 women who recently gave birth found one in five had been left alone during childbirth, at a point when it worried them.
Sue Macdonald from the RCM said staff shortages were one of the main reasons women were denied the highest standards of care. She said: “What women want is to feel special, and listened to and cared for, and to develop a relationship with their midwife right from the start of pregnancy. We want every woman to get that gold standard of care, not just those who can pay for it.”
Debate over the safety of home births has raged for decades. Forty years ago, more than a third of women gave birth at home, but currently, fewer than 3 per cent of births take place in the home.
Last month, a landmark report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the NHS should do far more to encourage home births, declaring that in one in three cases, identified as low risk, women were safe to give give birth “without a doctor going anywhere near them” – either at home or in a midwife-led unit.
However, The Birth Trauma Association has warned that cases which appeared low risk could quickly develop life-threatening problems during labour.
Last year a US study which claimed that a home birth carries three times the risk that a baby would die provoked divisions among medics and midwives. The research, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, showed the average mortality rate of babies born in hospital was 0.3 per 1,000 births, rising to one per 1,000 births for those born at home.
The RCM said the research was flawed, and said that in Holland, where one in three women have home births, the perinatal mortality rate is the lowest in Europe.
In 2009 a private midwife who delivered two of the author JK Rowling’s children was found guilty of professional misconduct after a baby died during labour. Deborah Purdue, who ran the Dorset and Wiltshire Independent Midwives company, did not properly examine the mother in labour, so that complications were missed.
A police perspective on the London riots
Brian Paddick was one of London’s highest-ranking police officers. How would he tackle looters?
It would be hard to find a better-qualified candidate to sort out the looting and policing crisis than the former inner-city commander who helped revive relations between public and police in Brixton after the 1981 riots.
“I would have certainly been in my element,” nods Paddick. “I would have been in Tottenham on Saturday night or first thing in the morning on Sunday. For Boris Johnson to turn up three days late brandishing a broom is not the sort of authority needed in these circumstances – in my humble opinion.”
After 30 years in the Met, he still constructs his sentences with the pedantic care of a sergeant entering a crime into a little black notebook. Alongside this slightly circuitous precision, however, he also has a police officer’s attractive habit of answering questions very directly.
As the riots spread across London at the start of the week, police tried to contain disturbances and arrest afterwards using CCTV evidence. Was this wrong? “Yes,” says Paddick. “The reason we’ve seen such widespread rioting is simply because people believed they could go out there, do what they want and get away with it. If the police had acted robustly and quickly on Saturday night then we might not have seen the copycat violence all over the country.”
Four years retired, Paddick remains remarkably relevant to the Met’s current predicament. The grandson of a policeman, he climbed the ranks to become commander of Lambeth, south London, where he famously initiated a pilot in which officers cautioned, rather than arrested, those in possession of cannabis. Despite falling victim to untrue tabloid stories and probably having his phone tapped, Paddick became deputy assistant commissioner, the most senior gay police officer in the country. His rise was halted when he revealed, five hours after Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by armed police at Stockwell tube in 2005, that senior officers had known he was carrying a Brazilian passport, and was therefore unlikely to have been a suicide bomber.
The police’s release of misleading tales to the media following the death of an innocent man has become a familiar pattern. It was repeated when newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died after being shoved to the ground by a police officer during the 2009 G20 protests. Then, nine days ago, when Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in Tottenham, police accounts told of a shootout with Duggan, and an officer’s life freakishly saved when a bullet lodged in his police radio. There was a wearying inevitability about the Independent Police Complaints Commission announcing this week that in fact the bullet in the radio was police issue, and a non-police weapon retrieved from the scene was not fired.
Paddick “completely” agrees these inaccurate accounts disastrously undermine public confidence in the police. “There is still this belief among some senior officers that it’s better to cover up than own up. The trouble with that is usually people find out, and then it looks twice as bad,” he says.
How do you tackle that culture? Is it institutional? “Well, if it’s institutional it didn’t persuade me. I told the IPCC exactly what I knew on the day of the shooting of de Menezes, and as a consequence I was sidelined and eventually pushed out. That’s what happens with people who aren’t institutionalised.”
Paddick seems scarred by his experience in the Met hierarchy and, unsurprisingly, has no friends left there. Witheringly critical about former boss Ian Blair, Paddick believes he was briefed against by the Met’s communications chief Dick Fedorcio. Blimey, I say, the Met sounds like a box of snakes. “Absolutely. It is,” nods Paddick.
Paddick does not think the power vacuum created by the resignations of Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson – an appointment he presciently criticised – and assistant commissioner John Yates over the phone hacking scandal contributed to a failure to combat looting. But his critique of the boss class is more fundamental than simply pinpointing tactical failures and an inadequate use of Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger. Public order policing is not part of an officer’s routine duties, but volunteered for. And the rank-and-file have stopped volunteering in droves, says Paddick, “because they felt if they did go in and do what the public wanted, which was pretty tough policing, they would end up under investigation or subject to complaints”. He does not accept the rightwing critique that our rights-based culture means troublemakers have lost fear of the police, but believes ordinary officers worry “they would not be supported by their bosses when it came to complaints. So it’s a loss of confidence in the hierarchy more than anything.”
There is a tension between loss of faith in the police and the desire for tougher policing expressed this week. It is a hard time to be liberal. Paddick declares he is, none the less: “I agree that providing people don’t harm other people, they should be allowed to do more or less what they want. The people on the streets this week were hurting a lot of people, and that puts them in play. Even though I’m a liberal, the police should’ve gone in much harder.”
There is always “a fine line between robust police action and reasonable force and unreasonable and criminal assault”, he says – but reasonable force for Paddick is not what you might expect of a liberal Lib Dem. Like former Northern Ireland chief constable Sir Hugh Orde (Paddick’s choice for next Met commissioner), he has no time for the idea that unwieldy water canons could confront a mobile mob. It would be “like an elephant with a bucket of water”. But Paddick has argued in favour of kettling and, most controversially, believes plastic bullets would quickly stop the rioting looters. “These are people who, if you say ‘Boo’ to them loudly enough, will run away. If you’ve got a crowd intent on looting and someone levels a plastic baton-round gun at them, they’ll run a mile. That is upping the ante to a level where they don’t want to play any more,” he says.
Catholic nurses use Equality Act to protect their pro-life beliefs
Two Roman Catholic nurses have won the right not to work in an abortion clinic after they accused the NHS of breaching equality laws. The case is believed to be the first in which the Equality Act has been used successfully to defend a “pro-life” position as a philosophical belief and could have implications for other Christian medical staff.
The nurses, who are both from overseas and do not wish to be identified, were moved from their normal nursing duties at a London hospital to work once a week at an abortion clinic.
They were required to administer two drugs to pregnant women – Mifepristone and Misoprostol – to cause an induced miscarriage. The process, known as “early medical abortion”, is an increasingly common method of terminating a pregnancy and does not involve surgery.
When the nurses discovered that they were participating in abortions they objected but were told by managers that they must continue with the work.
One hospital manager allegedly told the pair: “What would happen if we allowed all the Christian nurses to refuse?”
However, the hospital later backed down after the Thomas More Legal Centre, which specialises in religious discrimination cases, took up their case.
After receiving a letter from the centre, the hospital initially told the nurses that they would be excused from administering the abortion-inducing drugs but would have to remain working at the clinic.
The nurses’ lawyer, Neil Addison, wrote again to the hospital stating that the nurses would still be “morally complicit in abortion” if they continued to work in the clinic as nurses in any capacity. The hospital eventually conceded and the nurses were allocated to other duties.
Mr Addison, director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, argued that the NHS had wrongly denied the nurses their right as conscientious objectors not to take part in abortions, which is set out in the 1967 Abortion Act.
He also invoked the Equality Act 2010. In a move that is believed to be a legal first, Mr Addison claimed that the nurses’ belief in the sanctity of life from conception onwards was “a philosophical belief” protected under the Equality Act. Therefore any attempt to pressure them into working in the clinic would be illegal.
“This particular interpretation of the Equality Act has never, to my knowledge, been argued before,” Mr Addison said. “However since the courts have accepted that the philosophical belief in global warming is protected under equality legislation, there seems no reason why belief that human life begins at conception should not be equally protected.”
By invoking the Equality Act, the nurses would be given greater protection, as it carries the potential threat of discrimination, victimisation, or harassment action at an employment tribunal.
Mr Addison said he felt “privileged” to have represented the “brave” nurses.
“Taking the stand they did took immense moral courage and I am delighted that they have been successful,” he said.
The case marks a rare example of equality laws being used to protect the rights of Christians. Previously judges have been criticised for interpreting equality and human rights legislation in ways that allegedly “marginalise” religious beliefs.
Last month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that the courts had failed to protect religious freedom by ruling against Christians who wanted to wear the cross at work.
The watchdog said judges had interpreted the law “too narrowly” and must be more willing to accept that staff who have been prevented from expressing their beliefs have suffered discrimination.
The Sun Never Sets on the British Welfare System
Those of you following the barbaric rioting in Britain will not have failed to notice that a sizable proportion of the thugs are white, something not often seen in this country. Not only that, but in a triumph of feminism, a lot of them are girls. Even the “disabled” (according to the British benefits system) seem to have miraculously overcome their infirmities to dash out and steal a few TVs.
Congratulations, Britain! You’ve barbarized your citizenry, without regard to race, gender or physical handicap!
With a welfare system far more advanced than the United States, the British have achieved the remarkable result of turning entire communities of ancestral British people into tattooed, drunken brutes.
I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state.
In 2008, a 9-year-old British girl, Shannon Matthews, disappeared on her way home from a school trip. The media leapt on the case — only to discover that Shannon was one of seven children her mother, Karen, had produced with five different men. The first of these serial sperm-donors explained: “Karen just goes from one bloke to the next, uses them to have a kid, grabs all the child benefits and moves on.”
Poor little Shannon eventually turned up at the home of one of her many step-uncles — whose ex-wife, by the way, was the mother of six children with three different fathers. (Is Father’s Day celebrated in England? If so, how?)
The Daily Mail (London) traced the family’s proud Anglo ancestry of stable families back hundreds of years. The Nazi war machine couldn’t break the British, but the modern welfare state has.
A year earlier, in 2007, another product of the new order, Fiona MacKeown, took seven of her eight children (by five different fathers) and her then-boyfriend, on a drug-fueled, six-month vacation to the Indian territory of Goa. The trip was paid for — like everything else in her life — with government benefits. (When was the last time you had a free, six-month vacation? I’m drawing a blank, too.)
While in Goa, Fiona took her entourage on a side-trip, leaving her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett Keeling, in the capable hands of a 25-year-old local whom Scarlett had begun sleeping with, perhaps hoping to get a head-start on her own government benefits. A few weeks later, Scarlett turned up dead, full of drugs, raped and murdered.
Scarlett’s estranged stepfather later drank himself to death, while her brother Silas announced on his social networking page: “My name is Si, n I spend most my life either out wit mates get drunk or at partys, playing rugby or going to da beach (pretty s**t really).”
It’s a wonder that someone like Silas, who has never worked, and belongs to a family in which no one has ever worked, can afford a cellphone for social networking. No, actually, it’s not.
Britain has a far more redistributive welfare system than France, which is why France’s crime problem is mostly a matter of Muslim immigrants, not French nationals. Meanwhile, England’s welfare state is fast returning the native population to its violent 18th-century highwaymen roots.
Needless to say, Britain leads Europe in the proportion of single mothers and, as a consequence, also leads or co-leads the European Union in violent crime, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases.
But liberal elites here and in Britain will blame anything but the welfare state they adore. They drone on about the strict British class system or the lack of jobs or the nation’s history of racism. None of that explains the sad lives of young Shannon Matthews and Scarlett Keeling, with their long English ancestry and perfect Anglo features.
Democrats would be delighted if violent mobs like those in Britain arose here — perhaps in Wisconsin! That would allow them to introduce yet more government programs staffed by unionized public employees, as happened after the 1992 L.A. riots and the 1960s race riots, following the recommendations of the Kerner Commission.
MSNBC might even do the unthinkable and offer Al Sharpton his own TV show. (Excuse me — someone’s trying to get my attention … WHAT?)
Inciting violent mobs is the essence of the left’s agenda: Promote class warfare, illegitimate children and an utterly debased citizenry.
Like the British riot girls interviewed by the BBC, the Democrats tell us “all of this happened because of the rich people.”
We’re beginning to see the final result of that idea in Britain. The welfare state creates a society of beasts. Meanwhile, nonjudgmental elites don’t dare condemn the animals their programs have created.
Rioters in England are burning century-old family businesses to the ground, stealing from injured children lying on the sidewalks and forcing Britons to strip to their underwear on the street.
I keep reading that it’s because they don’t have jobs — which they’re obviously anxious to hold. Or someone called them a “k*****.” Or their social services have been reduced. Or their Blackberries made them do it. Or they disapprove of a referee’s call in a Manchester United game.
A few well-placed rifle rounds, and the rioting would end in an instant. A more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself, finally removing shaved-head, drunken parasites from the benefits rolls that Britain can’t find the will to abolish on moral or utilitarian grounds. We can be sure there’s no danger of killing off the next Winston Churchill or Edmund Burke in these crowds.
But like Louis XVI, British authorities are paralyzed by their indifference to their own civilization. A half-century of berating themselves for the crime of being British has left them morally defenseless. They see nothing about England worth saving, certainly not worth fighting for — which is fortunate since most of their cops don’t have guns.
This is how civilizations die. It can happen overnight, as it did in Revolutionary France. If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the “Heil Hitler” salute and singing the “Horst Wessel Song.”
Evangelical church application to set up new free school where it will teach creationism is approved
An evangelical church with creationism at the heart of its belief system has been given outline approval to run a free school. An application by the Everyday Champions Church, based in Newark, Nottinghamshire, has been accepted by the Department for Education. The church intends to teach the biblical belief that God created the world in six days, but evolution will only be taught as a ‘theory’.
Education Secretary Michael Gove, had promised that creationism will not be taught in free schools. He is ‘crystal clear that teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact’, the Department of Education confirmed.
But in January he said he would consider applications from creationist groups on a case-by-case basis.
Now it has emerged that a panel of civil servants interviewed Everyday Champions Church leaders last week after their initial application was approved. It is not known if they agreed to drop plans to teach creationism. Officials told the Daily Telegraph they could not comment on the application but each one would be treated with ‘due diligence.’
Free schools can be set up by charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, teachers and groups of parents. They are independent from local authorities and do not have to follow the national curriculum. However, lessons must be ‘broad and balanced.’ As with independent schools, free school teachers will not need formal teaching qualifications.
The church wants to open the new 625-pupil school in September next year and says there are currently not enough secondary places available in the area.
Pastor Gareth Morgan, the church’s leader, told the Independent: ‘Creationism will be embodied as a belief at the Everyday Champions Academy but will not be taught in the sciences. Similarly, evolution will be taught as a theory.’
The church’s website says the new school, with will be ‘multicultural in philosophy and will welcome children from all faiths or none’. However, it adds that the ‘values of the Christian faith will be the foundation of the school philosophy’.
The website says: ‘We believe that the Bible is God’s Word. It is accurate, authoritative and applicable to our every day lives.’
Secular groups have criticised education officials for accepting the application and were ‘astonished ‘ it was even considered. Richy Thompson, of the British Humanist Assocaition, said: ‘Everyday Champions Church have been very clear that they intend to teach creationism as valid, and sideline evolution as just ‘a theory’.
‘Given this, how can the Department for Education have now allowed this proposal to pass through to the interview stage? ‘‘The creep of creationism into the English education system remains a serious concern, and the Department have a lot more work to do if they want to stop extremist groups from opening free schools.’
The Government has approved 35 free school applications to move to the business case and plan stage, and eight of these have been given the go ahead to move into the pre-opening stage.
The story of your life really is written on your face, according to new research
As you will see from the journal abstract, the media article below is a rather florid interpretation of the findings. If I put bluntly what they really found you may understand why: What they found was that men from poor families tend to be uglier. Sorry about that but that is the way the cookie crumbles. The authors speculate that the ugliness was caused by disturbances during childhood but that seems unlikely. Genetic differences are more likely the culprit
Any explanation is going to be complex however when we note that there was no such effect for women. Poor women were NOT more likely to be ugly
In some people, the weather-beaten skin and deep lines that crease their face betray obvious clues about the hard life they have led, but now scientists have discovered everyone’s facial features may betray their childhood.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have found it is possible to learn about a person’s childhood by looking at how symmetrical their face is.
Using 15 different facial features, they found that people with asymmetric faces tended to have more deprived childhoods and so harder upbringings than those with symmetrical faces.
Their findings suggest that early childhood experiences such as nutrition, illness, exposure to cigarette smoke and pollution and other aspects of a difficult upbringing leave their mark in people’s facial features.
Surprisingly, their facial features were not affected by their socioeconomic status in later life, which suggests that even those who manage to undergo a rag-to-riches transformation can never escape their past as it will be written on their face.
It may explain why celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay and Tracey Emin, who had difficult and impoverished childhoods, have such distinctive asymmetric facial features despite having since amassed personal fortunes.
Professor Ian Deary, from the department of psychology at the University of Edinburgh’s centre of cognitive ageing, said: “Symmetry in the face is thought to be a marker of what is called developmental stability – the body’s ability to withstand environmental stressors [stress factors] and not be knocked off its developmental path.
“We wondered whether facial symmetry would faintly record either the stressors in early life, which we though might be especially important, or the total accumulated effects of stressors through the lifecourse.
“The results indicated that it is deprivation in early life that leaves some impression on the face. The association is not very strong, meaning that other things also affect facial symmetry too.”
Professor Deary and his colleagues examined the facial features of 292 people aged 83 who took part in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921, a study that has followed the participants through out their lifetime.
They were able to compare the facial symmetry of the participants to detailed information about their social status at childhood, including their parent’s occupation, how crowded their home was and whether they had an indoor or outdoor lavatory.
They examined 15 different “landmarks” on the face, including the positions of the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
They found there was a strong association between social class and the symmetry of the face in men. Those with more symmetrical faces had more privileged and easier upbringings than those with asymmetrical features.
The results in women were less strong and the researchers want to carry out further studies with other facial markers that may give a stronger association.
The researchers, however, found no correlation between participants social status in later life and their facial features.
Professor Tim Bates, who co-authored the study, added: “A small link from parental status to facial symmetry doesn’t mean people are trapped by their circumstances. Far from it – as shown by the high levels of mobility in society, not just people like Gordon Ramsay, but to lesser degrees by millions of people.”
The link between facial symmetry and exposure to stress in early life might explain why many studies have found that people with symmetrical faces are considered to be the most attractive.
Lop-sided facial features may unconsciously provide a signal that a person is less desirable as a mate due to the stress they experienced in early life which could leave them vulnerable to disease and premature death.
In their study, which is published in the journal of Economics and Human Biology, the scientists suggest that facial symmetry could be used alongside medical markers such as high blood pressure to identify people who might be at an increased risk of disease.
Professor Dearly, however, insisted there was still a lot of work to do before it could be used like this. “It is a research-based measure and quite tricky to calculate at present,” he said.
Symmetry of the face in old age reflects childhood social status
David Hope et al.
The association of socioeconomic status (SES) with a range of lifecourse outcomes is robust, but the causes of these associations are not well understood. Research on the developmental origins of health and disease has led to the hypothesis that early developmental disturbance might permanently affect the lifecourse, accounting for some of the burden of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease. Here we assessed developmental disturbance using bodily and facial symmetry and examined its association with socioeconomic status (SES) in childhood, and attained status at midlife. Symmetry was measured at ages 83 (facial symmetry) and 87 (bodily symmetry) in a sample of 292 individuals from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 (LBC1921). Structural equation models indicated that poorer SES during early development was significantly associated with lower facial symmetry (standardized path coefficient −.25, p = .03). By contrast, midlife SES was not significantly associated with symmetry. The relationship was stronger in men (−.44, p = .03) than in women (−.12, p = .37), and the effect sizes were significantly different in magnitude (p = .004). These findings suggest that SES in early life (but not later in life) is associated with developmental disturbances. Facial symmetry appears to provide an effective record of early perturbations, whereas bodily symmetry seems relatively imperturbable. As bodily and facial symmetries were sensitive to different influences, they should not be treated as interchangeable. However, markers of childhood disturbance remain many decades later, suggesting that early development may account in part for associations between SES and health through the lifecourse. Future research should clarify which elements of the environment cause these perturbations.