Don’t Worry, You Don’t Have To “Vaginally Seed” Your Baby, It’s Totally Fine

Hey there, pregnant women! Out of all of the things that people tell you to do in your birthing plan, we are happy to report that the hot new birthing trend, “vaginal seeding,” is not something you need to consider. At all. Ever.

According to a study conducted by the University of Puerto Rico, vaginal seeding is intended for Caesarean births and involves “rubbing your vaginal juices all over the baby’s face, mouth, skin, and anus in order to let him experience the same bacteria as a vaginally delivered baby.” In order to harvest said juices, simply place a strip of gauze inside the vagina an hour before actually delivering your bundle of joy and then rub it all over your baby’s body after delivery, in an attempt to recreate the “vaginal flora” your child is missing out on from being delivered naturally. The supposed benefit is that the bacteria produced by your vagina during birth will help your baby’s immune system and aid in fighting off autoimmune disorders and potential infections.

There’s very little medical evidence that proves this practice to be effective. Jennifer Conti, an OB-GYN writing in Slate, says that in some studies, the act of vaginal seeding has proven to be harmful to babies.

For example, if the mother is Group B strep positive. Group B strep is a bacteria that is present in roughly 25 percent of all women in the U.S. and is the leading cause of meningitis and sepsis in the newborn’s first week of life. Another example is the presence of chorioamnionitis, which is an infection of the baby’s bag of waters that affects up to 70 percent of preterm deliveries, 13 percent of full-term deliveries, and 12 percent of C-sections.

Giving birth is a terror and a joy all in one, much like the long plod of life that follows. It makes sense that new mothers-to-be are on the lookout for additions to their birthing plans like this as a balm against the unpredictable. But, the best thing for yourself and your new baby is what the doctors have been telling you all along — breastfeeding, post-birth skin to skin contact and reducing the amount of C-sections performed in general. If you want to vaginally seed your newborn angel, feel free. But don’t say we — and the medical community at large — didn’t warn you.