Woman Plans a Dolphin-Assisted Birth in Hawaii

This story is part of Treehugger's news archive. Learn more about our news archiving process or read our latest news.
Spinner dolphins swimming in the water

Michele Westmorland / Getty Images

Move over, indoor birthing tub. This woman wants to deliver in the Pacific Ocean with dolphins as midwives.

The quest for natural childbirth has been taken to a new level. Dorina Rosin and her husband Maika Suneagle have made headlines for their decision to give birth in the ocean surrounded by dolphins. The couple lives on the big island of Hawaii, where they run a spiritual healing center.

What Is a Dolphin-Assisted Birth?

Dorina, who is nearing the end of her pregnancy, recently took part in a dolphin blessing ceremony. In a video posted on YouTube, she swims with a snorkel and flippers, her 38-week pregnant belly visible in the water. Her partner twists and dances with a dolphin, while Dorina swims alongside another.

The couple will be featured in a documentary by British filmmaker Katie Piper that profiles women opting for unorthodox births. Piper says the “dolphin people” believe their child will “speak dolphin” as a result of being born alongside them. In addition to Dorina and Maika, whom Piper found to be a bit “out there, but so happy and relaxed,” the documentary will follow a bodybuilder, a dancer, and a woman who has a lotus birth, in which the placenta is allowed to detach naturally from the newborn.

According to CBS Atlanta, Rosin’s birth plan does not consist of much more than showing up in the ocean while in labor and hoping some dolphins appear to ‘assist’ with the event. Not surprisingly, many people are up in arms about Rosin’s choice.

Is It Safe?

Christie Wilcox wrote for Discover in 2013 that dolphin-assisted births (a growing trend) are a terrible idea:

“We tend to think of dolphins as trustworthy, loving creatures. But let’s get real for a minute here... They’re wild animals and they are known to do some pretty terrible things... Male dolphins are aggressive, horny devils... They also get a kick out of beating on and killing other animals. Dolphins will toss, beat, and kill small porpoises or baby sharks for no apparent reason other than they enjoy it.”

What if something goes wrong? There's the obvious concern that a Great White shark may turn up in the vicinity, attracted by all the discharge and blood – not something anyone should have to deal with while in labor.

When I asked for my midwife’s honest opinion about using a birthing tub at home, she pointed out that, if complications suddenly arise, it can be challenging to get a laboring woman out of the tub and onto a bed quickly enough to assess what’s going on. Being in the ocean would make it that much more difficult.

It’s also crucial to get the baby out of the water quickly enough that it is able to take its first breath. Joyous water births can quickly turn tragic when a baby is left to swim too long.

I’m all for de-medicalizing the birth process as much as possible, but it’s important to acknowledge the role that medical advancements have made in reducing infant mortality rates and ensuring the dangerous delivery process goes well, and to keep that support close at hand.

Dorina has tremendous confidence in the power of Mother Earth to guide them. She writes on her website:

“I invite you to experience yourself as a part of the earth and to remember your love. Let us meet the treasures together that the earth provides for us – security, protection, trust, calm, strong roots, joy, strength, beingness, deep lust, and a lot more. Thus we find trust in the natural rhythms of becoming and passing, birth and death.”

May her delivery go well.