Have you ever heard of Lotus birth? It would not be surprising if most moms would respond with a no. Indeed, Lotus birth is not a common practice in our country, primarily because health professionals advocate for facility-based births. Lotus birth has its risks, so health professionals might show limited support for this type of birth. However, some mothers still opt to give birth through Lotus birth.
What is Lotus birth?
Lotus birth is a birthing practice that leaves the umbilical cord uncut. The placenta remains attached to the baby for a few days after birth until the cord breaks naturally. In contrast, hospital birth practices cutting of the cord a few seconds or minutes after birth.
The placenta is placed in a bowl or special pouch and is placed near the newborn baby until it naturally detaches from the newborn’s navel. This natural process takes around 3 to 10 days after birth.
Why do Lotus birth?
This birthing practice is usually chosen by mothers who place significant value on the spiritual connection between the baby and placenta. They give honor to the placenta being the baby’s first source of nourishment and they respect the natural order of birth.
Lotus birth considers the baby and the placenta as a single unit, wherein the placenta is seen as an external but essential organ that is functional and necessary for survival. Hence, they do not want to interfere with the natural process of placenta detachment.
Advocates of Lotus birth also believe that the prolonged attachment of the placenta to the baby provides support to the baby in her transition to life outside the womb.
Risks of Lotus birth
Delaying cord clamping for 30 to 60 seconds has its benefits. This period allows for improved hemoglobin level and enough iron reserves for the first few months of life. However, professionals point out that delayed cord clamping for 60 seconds is different from leaving it to dry up and fall on its own.
In a medical perspective, once the blood is transferred completely to the baby when the cord collapses seconds after birth, the placenta no longer has documented value. The placenta is then a dead tissue and has no further physiological use for the baby. It might be even more harmful than beneficial as it can be a breeding place for harmful bacteria.
No one can tell you which is a better option between Lotus birth and the common hospital practice of delayed cord clamping. For sure, medical professionals would advice delayed cord clamping while advocates of natural birth would encourage Lotus birth.
If you are considering having Lotus birth, it is therefore important to really gather as much information as you can. Sit down with your physician, doula, or midwife and raise all your questions. It might also help to Google credible references or get in touch with someone who has a first hand-experience with Lotus birth.
Lotus birth is not a conventional birthing practice. Deciding to go for it might have friends and families question your decision. At the end of the day, it is you and your husband who will be the main decision makers for your baby. It is therefore important that you educate yourselves and equip yourselves with accurate information so you can make informed decisions for your baby.