We’ve been telling you this literally since 2008, but “dolphin-assisted” births are really not a good idea. Really. It almost seems like this shouldn’t need saying?

Newsweek is the latest to say no, stop it, don’t, pointing out that giving birth in the midst of curious marine life carries the risk of infection, death, and terminal idiocy:

Dolphin-assisted birthing could come with the risk for both mom and child of drowning and of awful illness or infection. The sea and all of its creatures have a wealth of potentially harmful bacteria and pathogens. And anyone who wants to take a birth out to sea should consider that the dolphin may not be too keen to help out, either. We like to think dolphins are friends of humans but the animal kingdom is unpredictable. Even people who are trained to work with sea mammals suffer injuries, including those working in seemingly innocuous swim-with-dolphins programs. It’s also conceivable that another sea creature—such as a shark—could try to “help.”

Your birthing suite shouldn’t have a shark in it, or even a sweet and helpful dolphin, a wild animal that can weigh 400 pounds. Again: who needs to be told this? The patients of Igor Tscharkofsy, we guess, the Russian doctor who says he began pioneering the practice of dolphin-assisted birth 20 years ago, in the squeaky-clean waters of the Black Sea.

That’s according to the Sirius Institute, a Hawaii-based New Age research foundation whose goal, they say, is “dolphinizing” the planet, through both regular, non-birth-giving “dolphin therapy” as well as the kind where they help you push. (Dolphin therapy, by the way, as lovely as it sounds, also has little to no scientific backing.)

Sirius claims that dolphin births have a host of fishy-sounding (sorry) benefits, including that dolphins can cure a host of things they cannot actually cure:

Research sufficient for us and experience since 1976 has shown that dolphins are able to improve or heal a wide variety of conditions including depression, autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and microscopically [sic].

Underwater births in the Black Sea have been done for some 30 years and have shown that the children born in the water with the dolphins develop 6 months faster over their first six months, have perhaps 150 grams more brain weight and are ambidextrous.

More and more people are seeking a dolphin attended and/or ocean birth for these reasons. Dolphin therapy and birth centers are forming in various countries around the globe and are the subject of international conferences. We receive by email something 1-2 requests a week from someone seeking to birth with the dolphins.

Hawaii is ideally suited for these therapy and birth projects. We of the Sirius Institute have been researching and working for the creation of such centers in Hawaii for the last 15 years and are known globally for our work. We have engaged medical doctors, midwives and doulas for the project. Midwives on-island are experienced in ocean births.

(As a sidenote, “research sufficient for us” is great and very expansive wording.)

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A water birth is one thing — plenty of people give birth at home in bath tubs or special birthing tubs, and the American Pregnancy Association says that’s just fine, as long as it’s being supervised by a qualified medical professional. But there’s still no particularly good reason why a dolphin has to be there. Nonetheless, if you insist — and again, you shouldn’t — here’s what that would look like:


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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