Seriously? You're worried about the germs in the mother's own mouth? Somebody elses mouth or a sharp rock off the ground, okay. But, well, umm... okay I'm just dumbfounded by this one. You know where babies come out right? : I think harm in this scenario is incredibly unlikely. I understand that for a birth worker, sterility is important, but she's not birthing any baby but her own, and I guarantee she won't wear gloves to catch either! I'm having trouble seeing how the third world countries arguments are relevant to this situation, Beth, simply because the whole environment those women are birthing in is extremely unsanitary, as I believe was mentioned in a pp.
Dulce, your thinking on this seems pretty clear and reasonable to me in the context of a UC mindset. Part of the UC movement is questioning and discovering the actual physiological requirements of birth, as opposed to societal requirements. I think this is an interesting discussion regarding where that line belongs. I find it important to observe what other mammals and more primitive cultures do, since we are so far removed from our instinctual past.
I am not talking about birthing the baby in a "sterile environment" or being abnormally germ-a-phobic. There is a huge difference between comparing the birth canal that a baby passes through with a mouth severing the umbilical cord. In the latter, an infection is possible because the umbilical cord connects directly to their blood supply.
I really am indifferent about people's reasons for UC. I think its fantastic that we all have choices about how we birth our children. But undoubtably SOME research has to come into play here. In the 1800s, thousands of babies died from umbilical infections. This was decreased dramatically when it was recognized that hand washing, hygiene, etc. is important. And that was in the Western world, not a third world country. It appears that it had little to do with the environment, and more to do with dirty implements, hands, etc. coming in contact with the cord.
On the one hand, you are laughing at me for suggesting that some precautions be taken, yet you say the problem in Africa is "the whole environment those women are birthing in is extremely unsanitary."
So which is it? Is sanitation important or not?
Which is why I suggest this mother takes that into account and uses some sterile scissors to severe a blood pathway to her newborn. I fail to see how this is taking away any of the experience of birth for her.