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Doctors say some of these trending birth choices aren't safe | My Baby My Star

A close friend of yours recently had a wonderful water birth experience, and then you read online that Kim Kardashian ate her placenta to make it smaller postpartum depression. It gets you thinking – are these practices safe for your baby and should you try them yourself?

The problem is that many of these practices have no proven benefits. What’s worse, some can even be risky for your baby.

As a pediatric emergency physician, I have seen many newborns contracting bacterial and viral infections, often requiring hospitalization and occasional intensive care. Newborns are among the highest risk children I care for, especially during the vulnerable first week of life.

But with all the information out there, it can be difficult to know which practices are proven to help and which ones may actually be harmful.

A comprehensive research article recently appeared in the magazine paediatrics reviews some of these practices and includes the latest data. Here’s what expectant parents need to know about the risks of these birthing practices to decide what’s right for them.

water birth

in one water birthsome or all of the birth takes place in a birthing pool or tub of warm water.

Benefits of Water Birth

Women often choose to have a water birth to increase relaxation, reduce pain, and use the support of the water to make it easier to get into a more comfortable position. When asked about her experience with a water birth research showed that mothers also felt an increased sense of control.

Is a Water Birth Safe?

For the first phase of labor, when you are first going into labor and your cervix is ​​opening, immersion in water is safe if you are due term (between 37 and 42 weeks gestation) and your pregnancy has been uncomplicated. Being immersed in water during this phase has been shown to reduce the need for pain medication.

When it comes to them second phase of workWhen your baby moves through the birth canal and ends in labor, there is currently no data showing that water birth is beneficial for either the mother or the baby. While no babies were harmed in a clinical study involving water births, there have been reports of babies becoming infected with organisms they would not normally be exposed to out of water, such as: Pseudomonas and Legionella. These infections can be very serious, leading to hospitalization and death. However, it should be noted that these are extremely rare and the risk can be reduced with proper pool or tub cleaning and prevention methods such as using new pool/tub liners and changing the water regularly.

Should You Have a Water Birth?

Overall, given that there is no proven benefit in the second stage of labour, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists caution against water birth in the second stage of labor due to rare but serious complications in the newborn. However, the Society for Obstetrics and Gynecologists of Canada and the Canadian Pediatric Society have no specific recommendations or warnings.

Given the very low risk of infection and the perceived benefits, many women and their partners still choose to have a total water birth with a trained midwife without problems. As with infection, the risk of a newborn swallowing water and obstructing its breathing is very rare. Newborns have several innate mechanisms to prevent this and ensure their first breath is taken as soon as they are out of the water.

lotus birth

What is a lotus birth

A lotus birth, also known as non-cutting of the umbilical cord, is the practice of keeping the umbilical cord attached to the baby and allowing it to separate naturally, rather than pinching and cutting it shortly after birth. The placenta stays attached to the baby via the cord for about three to 10 days until it falls off naturally. During this time, both the placenta and the umbilical cord dry out until the umbilical cord naturally detaches from the belly button. This is similar to how the umbilical stump dries and falls off in non-lotus births. Parents choose this option for a variety of reasons, including the belief that it allows the baby to have a smoother transition into the world, allows for continuous feeding from the placenta, and reduces belly button injuries.

Delayed umbilical cord clamping vs. lotus birth

It should be noted that a lotus birth is different from a delayed cord clamp. Delayed cord clamping means that the cord is not clamped immediately at the time of birth. Instead, the healthcare provider waits at least a minute before clamping and cutting the cord. This practice is recommended by the WHO and has several proven benefits for both term and preterm babies, including providing more red blood cells and iron.

Are There Benefits of a Lotus Birth?

There is no current data showing benefits for the newborn in a lotus birth. After birth, the placenta is no longer supplied with blood by the mother and there is no longer any circulation. Without this cycle, he cannot provide additional nourishment for the baby. Outside the mother and without a circulatory system, placental tissue begins to die, and this dying tissue can be a nutrient source for harmful bacteria that can be passed on to the baby. Although rare, there have been several reports of very serious bacterial infections in newborns caused by this practice.

Possible complications of a lotus birth

There are also additional challenges and risks involved in a lotus birth. As the tissue dies the placenta will smell, and parents often use herbs to help overcome this. The placenta needs a sterile container or bag and needs to be transported with the baby. This can make things like putting a baby in a car seat more difficult. Because the placenta is relatively large and bulkier than the umbilical cord, there is also a risk of the umbilical cord being torn from the newborn, known as an umbilical cord tear.

There are currently no formal recommendations or warnings regarding a lotus birth, but parents should be aware that there is no proven benefit and a dying placenta carries the risk of a very serious infection.

eating the placenta

Eating your placenta, or placentophagy, is another popular birthing practice. Some mothers eat it raw, others cook it. The most popular preparation method is to make a powder from the placenta that can be made into capsules.

The benefits of eating the placenta have not been proven

Many celebrities have reported eating their placenta and claiming a variety of benefits, further increasing their popularity. These claims include decreased postpartum depression, increased breast milk production, and several others; However, there is no clear evidence to support these claims. Some new moms believe that the nutrients delivered to the placenta during pregnancy should not be wasted and could potentially aid in recovery. No studies on placentophagy have been conducted to support these claims outside of self-reported surveys.

Is Eating the Placenta Safe?

However, there is evidence of the risks. Bacterial infection can occur in the person who handles or eats the placenta, and there is also a direct one proof that it has harmed a newborn with a bacterium called group B streptococci (GBS).

In the case of placentology, the SOGC has a very clear recommendation against it, since no benefit and a potential for harm are stated.

Vaginal seeding

Many moms who have a cesarean worry their babies won’t be exposed to the same beneficial bacteria as babies born vaginally—and rightly so. There is significant data on the importance of the microbes that live in the human body, called the microbiome. The lack of vaginal delivery is linked to differences in a baby’s microbiome, and Some research has shown that this difference may be minimized by vaginal seeding.

In vaginal seeding, fluid from the vagina is placed on a cotton swab or gauze, and then applied to a baby’s mouth, nose, or skin.

Is vaginal seeding a good idea?

Although vaginal seeding can transmit beneficial bacteria, it is also possible to transmit harmful bacteria and viruses such as GBS, herpes, and HIV. While these can be tested during pregnancy, it is always possible for one or more to be acquired from the time of testing to the time of delivery. Therefore, vaginal seeding is currently not recommended outside of a research setting. Despite this, some mothers still choose to sow vaginally. Because it is not recommended, medical professionals are unlikely to help and practice would be left to parents.

It’s also helpful to note that although babies born via cesarean section have differences in their microbiome at birth compared to babies born vaginally, these changes don’t persist into later infancy.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s microbiome, there are other, safer ways to improve your baby’s bacterial mix, including breastfeeding, skin contactdelaying bathing after childbirth and avoiding unnecessary antibiotics.

Delay your baby’s first bath

Of all the practices discussed here, here’s one that’s really worth doing. Traditionally, babies were bathed shortly after birth. But the World Health Organization actually recommends postponing a baby’s first bath by 24 hours. If this is not possible, then the bath should be postponed for at least six hours.

Benefits of Delaying Baby’s First Bath

Waiting before the first bath is advantageous for several reasons. Perhaps most importantly, simply by keeping mom and baby together, it can make early breastfeeding easier. Breastfeeding a baby for the first hour has many proven benefits, including reducing the risk of infection. Because they are held together longer, it also keeps baby warm and reduces the chance of hypothermia. It can also help maintain the newborn’s skin microbiome and chees – the waxy white substance babies are born with and which naturally protects them from harmful bacteria.

It is important to note that if the mother has a known communicable infection, delayed bathing is not recommended. In particular, HIV, active herpes, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are of greatest concern. In these cases, babies should be bathed as soon as possible after birth.

Bottom Line: Parents pursue alternative birthing practices because they want their baby to have the healthiest, happiest transition into the world. At the same time, it is important to remember that newborns have an underdeveloped immune system and are at high risk of infection. Some alternative delivery methods can unnecessarily expose newborns to infection, and it is important for all parents to weigh the proven benefits against the risks of harming their baby.

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