Most of the birthing trends which mainly focus to be “natural” hold benefits for both mother as well as the little one. But lately, obstetrician-gynecologists have warned pregnant women against one of the most common trends, namely “vaginal seeding”, which is a process of cleaning a baby born via C-section using its mother’s vaginal secretions.
While some suggest that this process can help strengthen the immune system of the baby however at the same time doctors also say that it is equally risky for newborns as it can be infectious. So, the question that arises is- Are the authentic risks worth the benefits that are not yet proved? Keep reading and grasp the answer to this question!!
What is Vaginal Seeding?
While picturing birth of a baby, what image comes first to your mind? A baby completely exposed to the mother’s vaginal secretions travels the birth canal to come to this world. It is somewhat right! However, the babies born through C-section miss out this process and hence vaginal seeding is done by swabbing the skin, mouth, and nose of the baby using vaginal fluids. The main motive of this procedure is to expose the baby to the beneficial and useful bacteria naturally existing in the birth canal to reduce the possibilities of asthma, allergies & autoimmune disorders when the baby is delivered through cesarean rather than vaginally.
So far, there have been very few studies examining vaginal seeding to prove that it is effective. At present, there is no sufficient data to say that vaginal seeding is beneficial or harmful. Alright, if it is natural it can’t be harmful, right? No, it is not true!! While the whole process makes a little sense biologically, but it is also possible to transfer harmful Bacteria that can result in severe infections, specifically in preterm babies.
The Risks of Vaginal Seeding
Vaginal seeding has no proven advantage. In that case, precautions should be taken to make sure no harm is caused. We need more researches to confirm that this practice is beneficial as well as safe. There are risks of numerous infections including Group B strep as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Even though a woman can be screened for some of these infections before giving birth, however, it is difficult to examine all cases.
It is true that vaginally born babies are also exposed to all these risks, however, doctors still do not want to increase any chance of infection for a C-section baby without a proven advantage. Also, vaginal seeding may not exactly copy nature as there are various other substances, such as blood & amniotic fluid, to dilute the vaginal secretions. Even when you do not have any type of infection, vaginal seeding can be still too risky to attempt, particularly without your doctor’s green signal.
Still, if you need your C-section baby to acquire health benefits of the gut, then let me tell you that there are some easy ways to do so. Early establishment of breastfeeding as well as skin-to-skin contact is an exceptional method to help your baby to acquire numerous beneficial substances such as beneficial bacteria and antibody protection. Some other risks of Vaginal Feeding include spreading of potential maternal infectious organisms such as-
- Group B streptococci
- Herpes simplex virus
- Sometimes human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists doesn’t suggest or even encourage vaginal seeding. It is suggested that vaginal seeding should not be performed until and unless sufficient data regarding the benefit and safety of the procedure are proven. The lack of data on this process raises the requirement for additional research on vaginal seeding and its benefits. Why add unwanted risks to your newborn when there is an absence of information on vaginal seeding? Think!!!
Also Read: Myths And Facts About Vagina