Rare birth photos show mum burning her umbilical cord

Mum Lacey calls it a 'Water, Earth, Wind and Fire' birth - and we ask the RCM if it's safe. (Warning, some may find the photos quite graphic)


A photographer mum has been filmed carrying out the unusual practice of burning off her umbilical cord after giving birth to a baby boy. 


Lacey Barratt described the delivery as a Water, Earth, Wind and Fire birth. 

This time Lacey wasn’t holding the camera, but asked another photographer to get shots of her remarkable home birth. This included a water pool, and, as we’ve mentioned, a cord-burning ceremony, where both she and her oldest son Sam burnt the umbilical cord away with a candle rather than cutting it. 


Lacey explains: “To gently disconnect Lennox from his cord and allow his brothers to be involved with the disconnection should they want to be, we decided to do a cord burning ceremony.

“By this stage, the two younger boys had gone back to sleep, however, Sam was fully into the whole birth process and wanted to participate.

“There is no greater joy I have ever experienced than watching my oldest son help me disconnect our youngest son together as a team.

“Looking at these images makes me cry snotty tears. 


“Incorporating the final element of fire into my birth space was important to me. Water (pool and shower), earth (birth), wind (Lennox’s first breath), and fire (burning of the cord).

“Sharing that with Samuel makes my heart explode.”

What is cord burning?

Here at MFM HQ we actually hadn’t heard of cord burning before, so we decided to get in touch with the Royal College of Midwives to find out more about it.  

Carmel Lloyd, Head of Education there, told us: ‘We are aware of the practice of cord burning though because statistics about its prevalence are not collected, we do not know the extent of this practice in the UK.

“The obvious risk of cord burning is a naked flame near the baby and this practice would be difficult to facilitate in a hospital due to the dangers posed by naked flames in a clinical environment.

“For those having a home birth then this would not be so much of an issue. Midwives discuss with women and their partners how the cord is separated from the baby and will always support women and their partners and respect their choices after giving birth.

“On the related issue of when to cut the umbilical cord, the RCM supports NICE and WHO guidance which recommends delayed rather than immediate clamping of the umbilical cord after birth.

“Delayed/optimal cord clamping allows the natural transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life and overall is considered beneficial to the baby.”

What do you think?

Would you consider a cord burning ceremony – maybe you had one? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Pics: Angela Gallo/Diimex

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