Lotus birth is something I read about during my pregnancy, although I chose not to go down that path. As it turned out, the way my birth experience ended, my sons cord was cut against my wishes so it would not have been a possibility (but that’s a story for another time…)
What Is It?
A lotus birth is the act of leaving the newborn baby’s umbilical cord uncut after birth. The mother will then deliver the placenta which will be kept connected to the baby by his/her cord until it naturally falls off. This can take between three to ten days. If you live somewhere particularly humid it will likely be towards the top end of the scale as it will take longer for the cord to dry out.
During this period, the placenta will need to be salted regularly and a means of carrying and transporting it will be required. Some mothers choose to carry the placenta separately from the baby, wrapped and placed in a colander, or in a specially made bag. Others lay the placenta on the baby’s stomach wrapped in cling-film, and carry both as a bundle. To keep the baby warm, baby sleeping bags are often used.
This is the biggest question. Why do it? If you are going to put in the effort of regularly salting and wrapping a placenta and lugging it around everywhere in the already challenging days as a new parent, you are going to want a good reason for doing it.
There is little to no scientific evidence on the benefits of lotus birth, however it is said that babies who are not separated from their placenta at birth are more relaxed and have less weight loss than non lotus birthed babies. It has also been noted that the babies show fewer signs of stress than other babies.
The navel reportedly heals faster if the umbilical cord is left uncut, and there is a widespread belief among those who lotus birth that the severance of the cord is painful and distressing for the newborn baby. There is also a strong spiritual aspect to lotus birthing, with those who practice it believing that we should not interfere with the natural process that occurs.
Of course, it allows the full amount of the cord blood to be transferred to the baby, which is far more beneficial to them then the alternative of immediate cord clamping, and it aids the prevention of anemia as the baby gets his full dose of iron from the blood, but this is also the case with delayed cord clamping.
For me, I don’t think this is something I plan to do if I have another baby, for no other reason than I would lean towards eating the placenta instead, something which would not be a possibility combined with a lotus birth.
So how about you? Did you have a lotus birth? Would you consider it for future babies?
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Further reading on lotus birth: