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Natural Birthing Fad: Newborns Left With Placenta Attached For 10 Days

Thu, September 26, 2013 5:28pm EDT by Kristine Kowalski 2 Comments
Lotus Birth
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Parents worldwide are choosing to engage in ‘lotus birthing,’ a trend of keeping newborn babies’ umbilical cord and placenta attached to the baby for up to 10 days after they were born. This method is becoming more and more popular. What do YOU think of this trend?

Lotus birth is a practice where parents decide not to cut a newborn away from its placenta, not separating them until the umbilical cord naturally falls away. Independent midwives explain that the decision not to cut the umbilical cord is a spiritual experience, which mothers believe help the baby’s temperament. Doctors discourage the practice because leaving the umbilical cord attached leaves the baby vulnerable to infection.

Lotus Birthing — Doctors Discourage Leaving Placenta & Umbilical Cord Attached

More and more moms-to-be are reaching out to their doctors and mommy groups for information on lotus birthing.

“We are aware that a number of women are choosing umbilical non-severance, known as lotus birth, and this is something we would discourage,” consultant obstetrician Pat O’Brien, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told The Daily Mail.

He explained:

If you wanted to pick an environment that encourages bacteria to grow you probably could not do better than to leave the placenta attached after birth. Soon after the baby is born there is no longer any circulation in the placenta, so it’s dead tissue and full of blood, making it the perfect culture medium for bacteria.

Babies who go through the normal process of having the cord cut soon after the birth can sometimes develop infections in the little stump and, if not treated, these can lead to septicaemia which gets into the bloodstream, making the baby very ill. If the baby is not treated with antibiotics, usually in hospital, it can sometimes even be fatal. If the placenta remains attached, that risk of infection is greater.

Midwife Speaks Out About Lotus Birthing

There is no identified health benefit to leaving on the umbilical cord until it falls away itself, though the rush to cut the cord has become more relaxed. “The health benefits to babies of delayed clamping – waiting up to 25 minutes until the cord stops pulsing before cutting it – are now widely recognized in hospitals,” independent midwife Deborah Rhodes told The Daily Mail. “The advantages of leaving the cord and placenta attached beyond that point are more spiritual.”

She elaborated:

I do think birth experience plays a part in how contented a baby is. With a relaxed birth and a gentle beginning a mother’s hormones settle down and the milk flows in quicker. So my policy as an independent midwife is very much to help women make informed choices about their birth experience and while lotus birthing is still a minority thing, word seems to be getting around.

What do YOU think, HollyMoms? Would YOU leave your baby’s placenta attached? Do you believe in lotus birthing?

— Kristine Hope Kowalski

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