Dolphins as Midwives? The Mother-to-Be Who’s Forgoing Hospitals and Nurses for an Open-Ocean, Cetacean-Assisted Waterbirth

by Owen James Burke

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Dorina Rosin and her partner Maika Suneagle have decided to give birth in the ocean, hoping for a pod of dolphins off Hawaii’s Big Island to act as midwives. Photo: Photo: © Channel 4 (Great Britain). Video below.

Science journalist Christie Wilcox wrote for Discover Magazine in 2013 that the concept of seeking dolphins as midwives “has to be, hands down, one of the worst natural birthing ideas anyone has ever had . . .” Considering the myriad documentation we have of their bullying and raping of not only one another but different species, including humans, she may have a point.

But, we have far more history with these magnificent creatures suggesting that they tend to be much more affectionate, or at least intuitive toward human beings, especially those of us in distress.

Surfers, shipwreck survivors and countless others have given accounts that attest to this theory, and just last year, for example, there was the girl who tied a suicide note around her neck and drifted out into the ocean currents off Southern California. Nearby, a group of researchers happened to be tracking a pod of feeding dolphins which suddenly abandoned their prey and broke away, leading the researchers offshore where the girl was barely alive. Then the pod kept her afloat until the researchers made the rescue.

There is a litany of these stories in Susan Casey’s most recent, tremendously researched book, Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins (read a Scuttlefish interview about the book with Casey here).

My guess is, after having read Voices in the Ocean, that whichever pod of dolphins chances upon Ms. Rosin will know exactly what’s going on, and, more likely than not, recognize a fellow mammal experiencing the stress of giving birth and lend a helping flipper. (Still, it might not be my first choice, but then neither is childbearing).

Watch this episode’s trailer for Great Britain’s Channel 4 TV program “Extraordinary Births” below:

The real horror, I’m afraid, is what that Limey television host has done to her poor face. Find out if and how you can watch the full episode at C4. –OJB

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