Before the modernization of birth, a lotus birth was a natural way of life.
Women naturally birthed their babies unaware of the benefits of the placenta that was attached. The placenta and cord were to stay with the newborn until it fell off on its own.
Fast forward to today, hospital births are quick and efficient to cut out any risks or complications. The umbilical cord and the placenta are detached from the baby immediately after birth.
There has been an increase in the interest of the placenta and cord blood in Western civilization. This trend has become popular amongst the women who want to go the natural route. Natural births such as home births, water births and/or birth centers with a midwife are becoming more appealing.
It’s apparent that the placenta’s uses inside the womb are nothing short of amazing as it transfers nutrients and oxygen to your baby.
We as mothers are reverting back to our natural roots and gravitating towards what we see as essential for our children’s well-being. This has inspired me as a mother to question care practices and educate myself on what I’m providing for my little one.
What is a Lotus Birth?
Lotus birthing is the practice of maintaining the placenta and umbilical chord after giving birth. The purpose is to retain its integrity for the benefit of the newborn’s overall development and health.
The baby, cord, and placenta are viewed as one unit.
A short-term lotus birth is leaving the umbilical cord attached to the placenta and baby for 4-48 hours before it’s severed. A long-term lotus birth, also known as a full lotus birth, allows the cord to naturally fall off from the belly button on its own time (usually within 3-10 days). Overall, the practice of keeping the placenta connected to the baby can be vital for her to receive optimal benefits.
Benefits of a Lotus Birth
Lotus birthing isn’t for the faint of heart, but with a passion for your growing newborn will come a desire to provide him with the best care. Here are the amazing benefits of a lotus birth:
1. Blood Transfer
The placenta is placed at the same level with the baby to ensure the blood transfer. An extra 80-100mL of the oxygenated blood can contribute towards their brain development within the first year.
2. Emotional Health
We tend to overlook the emotional health of our newborn baby. Try to put yourself in their shoes; they’re in a whole different world.
One of the main benefits of lotus delivery is to treat the baby, cord, and placenta as a whole by refraining from any cutting of the baby in efforts to speed the process.
Mothers of Lotus babies noticed a calmer demeanor in comparison to other newborns before the cord is detached. This can be due to the birthing process for the newborn is slowed down while the cord is attached. Also, while this transition is in effect, there is a special attention brought to the environment.
Mothers ensure a peaceful and serene place for the newborn.
3. Creating a Bond
After giving birth, mother, dad, and baby are encouraged during this phase to form a closer unity while the cord is still attached. Called a baby moon, mothers are mostly cut off from any outside disturbances as their baby is slowly transitioning into the world. The gentleness of the lotus birth allows the baby to take his time to grow accustomed to his new environment as well as build a new bond on the outside with his parents.
4. Naval Healing
A clamped belly button is at risk for an infection. The umbilical cord stump usually dries and falls off within 7-21 days leaving a small wound, which takes 3-4 days to heal. With a lotus birth, allowing the cord to fall off on its own has no risk for infection leaving the belly button neat and clean.
Lotus Birth Risks
At the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, doctors believe that with research they’re known risks with a lotus birth.
Dr.Patrick O’ Brien of RCOG, said:
“If left for a period of time after the birth, there is a risk of infection in the placenta which can consequently spread to the baby. The placenta is particularly prone to infection as it contains blood. Within a short time after birth, once the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating, the placenta has no circulation and is essentially dead tissue.”
Whether the baby is at risk for an infection is debatable. If you monitor your baby regularly, an infection can be avoided.
Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility of the inconvenience of the placenta’s care. Keeping the placenta preserved is definitely not for the faint of heart. It can seem tedious but with passion comes a determination to provide the best for your little one.
Natural Parenting has an excellent guide on placenta care after labor. Their primary focus is educating as advocates for attached and gentle parenting styles and more natural way of life.
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- After labor check to see if the placenta is intact.
- Level the placenta with the baby until the Wharton’s Jelly (substance within the umbilical cord) has solidified. This indicates the end of the blood transfusion. It typically happens minutes after the cord stops pulsing.
- Drain the placenta for the first 24 hours in a strainer/bowl kept next to the baby.
- Wash the placenta in warm water to remove blood clots and gently pat dry.
- Place placenta on a cloth and let air-dry. Make sure the cloth is a breathable fabric allowing the cloth to absorb the fluid.
- You can purchase a placenta bag (or DIY your own) to safely store the placenta during its drying stage.
- Use salt to improve the drying process. You can also add essential oil, dried flowers or powdered spices for preservation. There are kits you can purchase online that provide drying herbs for the placenta.
- Make sure to place the placenta close to the baby to avoid tugging on the cord. Be aware of the placenta when feeding or holding your baby. Your little one could be sensitive to the touch of the cord and placenta.
- As the placenta dries, the cord will become brittle until it falls off naturally.
Will You Have a Lotus Baby?
Although it seems tedious, you can opt for a lotus birth even in a hospital. As a mother, you have every right to create the right environment you want to provide for your newborn baby. What is truly surprising is the connection mothers with Lotus babies have in their first days of motherhood.
This is not only beneficial to your babies development, but a great way to learn your natural instinct as a mother.