There’s a new thing in birth planning called vaginal seeding, which refers to the apparently trendy practice of rubbing your newborn in your vaginal juices after they’re born to make sure they absorb your je ne sais quoi. Are you into this practice, which sounds more like a vintage Dan Savage sex advice column question than a baby plan?
At Slate, Dr. Jennifer Conti writes that, while vaginal swabbing is all the rage for some people, it hasn’t been proven to be all that helpful. The practice is supposed to help babies born via C-section receive the same bacteria from their mothers as children born vaginally. To vaginally seed a newborn properly, one must leave a strip of gauze in the vagina before delivery and then after birth, remove the strip and rub it and “your vaginal juices all over the baby’s face, mouth, skin, and anus” to give them their mother’s immune boosting bacteria.
Vaginal seeding comes from a boutique study conducted at the University of Puerto Rico following 18 infants, 7 born vaginally and 11 via C-section, from birth through their first month of life. Conti writes that the study’s results don’t conclusively prove the benefits of vaginal seeding and she’d rather people just make sure they try to breastfeed and give their newborn skin-to-skin contact.
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