There's no question that dolphins are highly intelligent animals, but are they smart enough to serve as midwives? Some people might actually think so.
How in the world did this idea come about?
This brilliant idea of dolphin-attended childbirth seems to have originated with an organization called the Sirius Institute, which is located in Hawaii. According to its website, one of the goals of the Sirius Institute is to "Dolphinize the Planet" (no, we're not making this up).
What exactly is "dolphinization?" It's "the raising of the consciousness of humans to the level of the dolphins and to integrate the Cetacea into the cultures of the Earth." Obviously.
The Sirius Institute has a whole section on its website devoted to dolphin-attended childbirth. They claim that for 30 years women have been giving birth in the Black Sea with dolphins, and that these children "develop six months faster over their first six months, have perhaps 150 grams more brain weight and are ambidextrous."
So are women actually doing this?
In 2013, several news media outlets, including Time and New York Daily News, reported on a North Carolina couple who travelled to Hawaii for the birth of their child, because they wanted to do the delivery in the water with dolphins. According to the reports, Heather and Adam Barrington were staying with Star Newland, the founder of the Sirius Institute.
In 2015, there were reports about another couple who was also intending to do a dolphin-assisted birth in Hawaii. But this couple later spoke to a website called SheKnows, saying that the entire story was twisted and blown way out of proportion.
Dorina Rosin said she did swim with dolphins while pregnant, but she never intended to give birth in the ocean with them. She instead had a home birth in her backyard.
Was the story about the Barringtons in 2013 also greatly exaggerated?
It's hard to tell, but it's worth noting that both Time and New York Daily News cited an article in the Charlotte Observer that is no longer accessible.
Time also cited an interview conducted by Penn and Teller — a comedic/skeptic duo who used to have a Showtime show called "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" — which supposedly revealed that no one who came to the Sirius Institute for dolphin birth actually went through with it. However, the YouTube video linked by Time has been removed for copyright violation.
Is dolphin-assisted birth a good idea?
Not surprisingly, many people came out and said that a dolphin-assisted birth would be a terrible idea. This Discover Magazine article points out that dolphins can actually be quite violent, though they may look peaceful and friendly.
On top of that, giving birth in the ocean has its own risks because it's not a sanitary environment. It's great to want to "become one with nature" and all that, but when it comes to childbirth, safety should be a prime concern.