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The 11 Strangest Pregnancy Trends

Odd trends

Women have been giving birth since the beginning of human existence, and people have been conducting birthing rituals for almost as long. In ancient Malaysia, for example, women gave birth sitting up; in 18th-century France, newborns were bathed in wine. These days, modern parents are following increasingly zany pregnancy trends. From pregnancy belly casts to lotus births, here are 11 of the strangest pregnancy trends of the 21st century.

Lotus births

When a baby is born, most parents snip the long, fleshy umbilical cord as soon as the birth is over. With a "lotus birth," however, parents allow the cord to remain attached to the placenta until it breaks naturally.

Some moms and dads even opt to carry the placenta around in a pouch or a bowl — attached to the still- connected umbilical cord in what might be the worst purse design ever. Although advocates argue that lotus births ease a newborn's transition to life outside the womb, others warn that this trend could be harmful for the baby.

Dr. Saima Aftab, medical director of the Fetal Care Center at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, told Live Science that the placenta is "dead tissue" and a "perfect culture for bacteria to grow and for infection to occur." If the baby is attached to this dead, decaying organ, there is a risk of the infection spreading to the newborn, she said. [5 Reasons Why Placentas Are Amazing]

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Tattooing stretch marks and C-section scars

Chinese tattoo artist Shi Hailei is transforming stretch marks and C-section scars into beautiful human art. The Shanghai-based tattooist is inking flowers and butterflies over new mothers' insecurities and helping women feel beautiful.

C-section scars and stretch marks on pregnant or postpartum women occur most commonly along the abdomen, and women may use cocoa butter or other products to help fade the scars. Some women consider the condition disfiguring and even embarrassing, and tattoos have become an increasingly popular way to cover otherwise noticeable scars. One mom even got a pair of scissors tattooed alongside her C-section scar.

Labor pains for men

In 2015, the "Try Guys" of Buzzfeed placed electrodes on their abdomens and backs and essentially electrocuted themselves to simulate the pains of labor. In short, there was a lot of crying and screaming.

But they're not the only ones: This trend has gained popularity over the years, and those who undertake the challenge seem to operate under a similar mindset as teenagers on YouTube ingesting whole ghost peppers. Still, there is the potential for men to develop some empathy for the experiences of their pregnant partners.

In 2007, a study found that men can suffer pregnancy pains in sympathy with their partners, most commonly experiencing stomach cramps. The condition is called Couvade syndrome, but many perceive these symptoms as "attention seeking." One way or the other, at least women don't have to suffer through labor pains alone.

Free births

A free birth, or an unassisted birth, is when a woman gives birth without any medical help. Hours of labor with just the mother and her partner — and no doctors or midwives. Not only is there no medical presence, but parents committed to the concept also may forgo checkups or scans during pregnancy.

Of course, women have been giving birth without medical care for millennia, but the practice has recently regained popularity. Not everyone is thrilled with the resurgence of "free births," however, given that women still regularly die during childbirth, according to The Guardian.

Indeed, experts have also warned against free births because of associated health risks. Aftab emphasized that there are many unknown variables during the process of giving birth, and that giving birth far from a hospital can be "extremely dangerous."

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