Sunday, April 30, 2023

Alternative Birth Practices.. Water birth. vaginal seeding. Lotus Birth. Eating the placenta. Skipping the dose of hepatitis B vaccine given at birth. Refuse erythromycin ophthalmic ointment for the newborn. Delay bathing

Alternative Birth:

As a mother-to-be, you may have heard of childbirth practices that are outside of the norm for labor, delivery, and newborn care.
Some may benefit you and your baby. However, others can increase the risk of your newborn getting certain infections:
Seven different alternative practices and what you should know about them are summarized here.

1- Water birth:

A water birth involves laboring or giving birth while in a bathtub of warm water.
Most birthing centers now have birthing tubs, though they are usually only used during labor.
Home water births are sometimes planned with the help of a midwife.

Scientifically, water births seem to improve comfort in early labor, but not beyond that.
There are no known benefits for the newborn born in water.
On the contrary, there may be bacteria there that could infect the baby that is born in the bathtub. Although rare, infections in babies after water births can be serious.

2- vaginal seeding:

It happens when a swab transfers the mother's vaginal fluids to the nose, mouth, and skin of a baby delivered by cesarean section.
The goal is to expose the baby to the vaginal flora (bacteria) that the baby would have been exposed to while passing through the birth canal.

Babies delivered by caesarean section appear to be at increased risk of allergies, asthma, and obesity later in life. Some suspect that this may result from having a different microbiome (balance of bacteria and other microbes that live in the body).

But there is no scientific evidence to prove that vaginal seeding effectively lowers that risk.
Also, while there may be bacteria in vaginal fluids that are good for the baby's microbiome, there can also be harmful microbes.

For example, babies should not receive vaginal seeding if the C-section was performed to prevent an infection in the mother (such as HIV, group B strep infection, or genital herpes).

3- Lotus Birth:

You may hear a medical term for this: "unruptured umbilical." It happens when the umbilical cord (and placenta) are left attached to the baby, instead of being cut and removed after birth. In a Lotus birth, they are allowed to dry until the cord separates on its own, usually within 3 to 10 days.

A Lotus birth may seem like a "non-violent" way for the baby to transition from the womb to the real world. However, there is no evidence that it has any kind of effect on the emotional development of the baby.

If the placenta or cord attached to the baby becomes corrupted, this allows bacteria to grow quickly and possibly travel from the tissue to your baby.
There are known cases of babies born by Lotus delivery who became seriously ill.

4- Eating the placenta (placentophagy):

Placentophagy is the practice of eating your own placenta.
The placenta provides oxygen and nutrition to the unborn baby during pregnancy. Also known as "secundinas", it is consumed raw, cooked or dried and pulverized in capsules.

Although placentophagy is considered a way to reduce postpartum depression, stimulate breast milk production and replenish nutrients, there is no scientific evidence of these benefits.

In fact, there is a risk of food poisoning from eating a placenta that has started to rot. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against consuming placenta capsules after a newborn has become seriously ill from a group B strep infection (group B strep) on two separate occasions.

The baby's mother had taken pills containing group B strep and had probably passed the bacteria to her baby.

5- Skipping the dose of hepatitis B vaccine given at birth:

Some families feel that the hepatitis B vaccine is not necessary right after birth and prefer to postpone it for a couple of weeks or months.

Although it seems reasonable if the biological parents tested negative for hepatitis B, anyone close enough to the baby could give the baby hepatitis B.

The hepatitis B vaccine should be given as soon as possible to protect the baby against anyone (not just biological parents) who is infected.

Babies infected with the hepatitis B virus may not have symptoms right away, but over time the virus can damage the liver.

6- Refuse erythromycin ophthalmic ointment for the newborn:

Erythromycin ophthalmic ointment will prevent certain bacteria (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) from causing a serious infection that can lead to blindness.

If the biological mother tested negative for this bacteria during pregnancy, it is very unlikely that the baby will require this ointment.
However, some states have laws that require the use of this eye ointment.

7- Delay bathing:

The sooner the baby can have skin-to-skin contact with his biological mother or father for a long time, the better.

That is why the World Health Organization (WHO) now recommends delaying the newborn's first bath until 24 hours after birth in some cases.

This can help keep the baby's temperature and blood sugar under control, as well as promote nursing and bonding.

However, if the birth mother has a genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) rash during childbirth, has HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C, it is important to bathe the baby as soon as possible to remove the infected fluid from her skin.
There are no other known risks of infection from delaying bathing.

Should I talk to my pediatrician about alternative delivery practices for my child?

Yes. Alternative birth practices can expose your baby to germs not normally covered by regular tests and antibiotics.

It is important to mention any that were part of your child's delivery, so that the doctor can modify tests or antibiotics when necessary.

Where can I learn more about ways to improve the birthing experience or the health of my newborn baby?

The pediatrician should be a reliable source of information.
Have a clear discussion with your pediatrician about whether a birthing practice can benefit or harm your child prior to delivery.