Debate on health implications of lotus births raised

Is umbilical non-severance beneficial or dangerous?

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The debate on controversial lotus births has once again been raised after a mum from Brighton has spoken about its health benefits.

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Adele’s son Ulysses was six days old before his umbilical cord and placenta naturally dropped off, she told the Daily Mail.

Adele said: “By staying attached, babies get the full quota of everything that would have nourished them were they still in the womb and that sustains them until the breastfeeding gets going.”

Umbilical cord non-severance was popular with early western European settlers in America and revived in the 1980s by yoga lovers.

During a normal birth, the umbilical cord is clamped within minutes of the baby being born.

Adele said: “Rather than increase it, we believe non-severance actually reduces the risk of infection because there are no open wounds, unlike when the cord is cut and clamped.”

Independent midwife Deborah Rhodes, 36, practiced a lotus birth when her three-year-old son Max was born. She says since 2004, 20 out of the 50 births she has attended have been lotus.

She said: “The health benefits to babies of delayed clamping – waiting up to 25 minutes until the cord stops pulsing before cutting it – are now widely recognised in hospitals.

“The advantages of leaving the cord and placenta attached beyond that point are more spiritual.

“The placenta belongs to the baby and they often spend a lot of time touching the cord in the womb, so it’s a very familiar, comforting thing for them when everything else is so new. With lotus birthing you are letting the baby decide when it’s ready to break that bond.”

Consultant obstetrician Pat O’Brien, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said lotus births are “something we would discourage”.

She added: “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.”

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