When I first heard of lotus birth, I had a series of mixed reactions. I went from “What on earth..?” to “But why…’ to ‘that’s just the craziest’ to, “Well, maybe not so crazy…’. If you were given enough benefits of lotus birth, would you do it?
As moms, we have an innate desire to do the best for our babies. Some of those actions, such as banking the cord blood, are beneficial to the baby. Some are stuck on the thin line between weird and sentimental such as keeping the cord stump (I still have my babies cord stumps in a gift box).
Others are still in the debate chambers, with many opposing the motion and others defending it. Lotus birth is one of those. Read on and make your decision.
In delivery, the normal practice is once the baby is out, the cord is cut, and then the placenta is birthed and discarded. With a lotus birth, though, the placenta is birthed and is left still attached to the baby.
Once the placenta is removed, it’s washed with warm water then allowed to drain and dry for about a day.
The placenta is carried in a special pouch or container until it naturally detaches. This might take anywhere between 3-10 days. Usually, it’s just about the same time a cord stump takes to dry and drop.
During this time, the placenta needs to be well cleaned and preserved. Applying salt or rosemary powder would be a proper way to keep it from getting infected or smelling.
Lotus birth was practiced in the middle ages in Europe as well as in Southern Africa and western cultures. It’s derived from the lotus flower that symbolizes rebirth, insight, and self-regeneration.
For many mothers, the benefits of a lotus birth may be more spiritual and cultural than medical.
What’s the best time to clamp the cord after birth? For some, the answer is ‘Not at all.’ Enters lotus birth.
How then, does a lotus birth help the baby?
Proponents of lotus birth have argued that extending the baby’s contact with the placenta facilitates a smooth transition from womb to world.
The baby has been attached to the placenta for nine months. Severing him immediately after delivery is a little shocking.
If the baby is left attached for longer after birth, his little body gets time to acclimatize to his new world.
Umbilical non-severance means the baby keeps getting oxygenated blood from the placenta after delivery. This increases the baby’s hemoglobin levels and nourishment from the placenta.
The blood may also increase the baby’s immunity as opposed to the cord that’s severed immediately.
Picture Credits:Yoga academy
Pregnancy slows us down in so many ways. You can barely wait to give birth and ‘move on’ with your life singularly.
But it’s a whole different marathon when the baby comes with the placenta. Having a placenta to carry around as well keeps the mommy from the temptation of moving.
Having the placenta still attached to the baby means you’ll need to dedicate more time to the baby. Thus, increasing the bonding time for mommy and baby.
Slowing down after delivery is a big step in the post-partum healing direction.
Some mothers feel an attachment of sorts to their placenta. It’s the organ that attached your baby to you. This emotional attachment may be beneficial when mommy is trying to bond with the baby.
Carrying an organ that is now dead but still attached to your baby has its risks. Here are some risks associated with lotus birth.
From the moment the cord stops pulsing, the placenta becomes an accessory that could start rotting if not well taken care of. The blood in the placenta could also be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
The bacteria could be transmitted to the baby, and that’s not something we want on baby’s first week of life, or forever if we could. A bacterial infection must be the most significant risk of lotus births.
Omphalitis is the infection of the umbilical cord site. When it occurs, it is a severe condition, and lotus birth increases the chances of a baby catching it.
The presumed benefits of lotus birth seemingly dissolve in the light of the possibility of an infection to the newborn.
This is more of a discomfort than a risk. The placenta is bound to smell as it decomposes, and having a decomposing organ around the baby might not be the best idea.
Although moms can preserve it with salt, it’s impossible to mask the odor completely. You don’t want a brand new nose having to smell something strong.
Most recorded lotus births are from home births. Having a lotus birth in the hospital might be met with refusal from the medical team.
Given the risks involved, most doctors are hesitant to let their patients go home with the placenta still attached.
Instead, delayed clamping is recommended. The World Health Organization recommends the cord clamping to be delayed for up to three minutes after delivery.
The best practice is to wait until the cord stops pulsing and the placenta detaches from the uterus before clamping
If the baby is in distress after birth and needs immediate attention, the clamping is done immediately. My firstborn went from theatre to the incubator in less than two minutes.
He was born blue and gasping for air; thus, he would not have been the right candidate for delayed clamping or even lotus birthing.
Given the benefits of lotus birth and the risks involved, would you do it? It’s undoubtedly an uncommon practice that will have many people shaking their heads at you.
It’s essential to be most convinced of your choice and armed with the right information, so you do not put both you and the baby at risk.
If you decide to go with it, keep an eye on the placenta. Any suspiciously foul smell or unusual occurrence, call your doctor immediately.