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Underwater Birth & Dolphins

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Sirius Connection 420
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Underwater Birth and Dolphins

Igor Tscharkofsy, Dr. Igor Smirnov and Elena Tonetti in Russia, Dr. Michel Odent, M.D. in France, Estelle Meyers in New Zealand, Dr. Gowri Motha, M.D. in London, Binnie Dansby in England and others pioneered underwater birth.  

Now underwater birth is an accepted as part of the British health services and recommended for those who anticipate problems with their pregnancy.  Literally thousands of successful underwater births have occurred throughout the world.  The initial enthusiasm for this technique has grown and its benefits for the mother and child are increasingly confirmed.

Parallel to these developments, the practice of dolphin assisted therapy developed through the work of Dr. Hank Truby, Dr. Betsy Smith, Dr. David Nathanson, David Cole, Scott Taylor, Dr. Horace Dobbs, M.D., et alia.   The direct experience of many people who have encountered dolphins and been healed by them also confirms this approach.
See: http:///

As the advantages of underwater birth became clear, and the therapeutic value of dolphins was demonstrated, the concept of humans birthing underwater with dolphins developed.   Since birthing in water is beneficial, and dolphins are able to heal or improve a wide range of medical conditions, it is reasonable to suppose that their presence at water births could be beneficial.

Some 20 years ago, after developing and confirming the benefits of water birth, Igor Tscharkofsy began to birth human babies in the Black Sea with the dolphins.  Some of the reported occurrences include a mother and a baby playing with the dolphins within 45 minutes of the birth, another instance of a free dolphin escorting a newborn human baby to the surface for its first breath.  According to Igor Smirnoff, their research director, water babies develop six months faster over their first two years and development of waking, talking etc. occur earlier.  According to Elena Tonetti, who managed the Black Sea birth project for several years, the children are also ambidextrous.

Dolphins are curious about pregnant women and often come around to check them out.  This is a common occurrence according to Dean Bernal, companion to the free dolphin Jo Jo who swims with many people in the Turks and Caicos islands.  In commercial "swim with dolphin" programs, pregnant ladies are often excluded from the swims because the dolphins often concentrate their attention exclusively on her to the exclusion of the other guests.

In the Black Sea, dolphins would often come close to the people in the water and were present at many births.  Dr. Gowri Motha, M.D. took 8 pregnant ladies to the dolphin facilities at Eliat so they could birth with the dolphins.   She is convinced that this is beneficial for the mother and the babies.  More evaluation and repetition of the process will more firmly establish the benefits of underwater birth with the dolphins.  

The work of Dr. Stanislav Grof and others have established that the birth experience is the major formative experience for our personality.  A good birth results in an imprint of basic trust in the universe while a difficult birth can lead to an imprint of struggle.   Whatever the imprint, it tends to be repeated in our later lives.

From a physical point of view, human babies at birth have proportionately the largest head of any land creature with the smallest body.  Dr. John Lilly found that angular accelerations can create sheer forces on the brain.

Above a certain critical value that depends on brain and body size, the brain can be damaged by accelerations.  A birth into water allows a smooth transition where the head and brain are neutrally buoyant.  The mass of the water minimizes the accelerations to the brain and helps insure its intact delivery.   See:

The fact that humans like water, swim, dive, and are attracted to birthing in the water has led to the development of the Aquatic Ape Theory that postulates that humans are partially aquatic creatures and evolved in a watery environment near rivers and coastlines for millions of years.  This has resulted in several "marine" characteristics including the structure of the nose, the position and shape of the breasts, subcutaneous fat, and tear glands which are characteristic of some marine animals like seals, dolphins and sea birds.    See:

This puts water birth in a context in where it is part of our aquatic heritage and approaches the conditions of our ideal primal environment.  We now know several cultures practiced water births including the ancient Egyptians and the Hawaiians.  In fact, Hawaiians performed underwater births with dolphins as late as 1937 and still privately maintain this practice.

At the moment, the birth activities in the Black Sea have ceased.  While several projects have sought to establish places where people could birth with dolphins, this has yet to occur.

The Dolphin Attended Water and Natural (DAWN) Birth Center

Hawaii is ideal for underwater births attended by free dolphins.  The climate is ideal and there are coastal areas throughout the islands where dolphins come close to the shore.  

A Sample of the type of coastline suitable for the habitat is seen below.

There are tide pools, hot ponds, access for free dolphins.  This area of Hawaii is the only area where all these occur together.  Therefore this is a prime area for establishing water birth with dolphins and the human-dolphin habitats where we can live and learn from each other. This area can also be the first embassy for the Cetacean Commonwealth.
See: CetaceanCommonwealth

For more details see: and




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Updated July 13 , 2003