What is a lotus birth – and is it safe to have one?

What it is, the risks and the alleged benefits - after one mum's experience goes viral (WARNING: Some graphic images)

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We’ve all heard of things like hypnobirthing, water births, and active birth – but you may not know much about the controversial lotus birth.

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Also known as umbilical nonseverance, this practise sees mums keeping their baby attached to the placenta via the umbilical cord post-birth.

It remains attached until the cord naturally detaches itself, usually a few days later – though this can take up to 10 days.

The placenta is carried around with the baby until it does, often wrapped in a cloth.

Are there any benefits to having a lotus birth?

Usually, a mum chooses to have a lotus birth for spiritual reasons – or because the ‘all natural’ practice allows nature to take its course, because the cord will drop off ‘when it’s supposed to’.

There have also been unproven claims that there are health benefits for the baby – such as receiving the remaining blood supply from the placenta, and that keeping the cord attached reduces the risk of infection in the umbilical (naval) area.

There is some evidence to suggest that leaving the cord attached for a few minutes immediately after birth may have health benefits – but not for any length of time beyond that.

The risks of having a lotus birth

A 2008 statement from a British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists spokesperson advised against lotus birthing – and warned mums having them to carefully monitor their babies as there’s a risk of infection.

“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 statement said.

“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.”

It’s also an organ which has been expelled from the body – so naturally it may have or develop an unpleasant odour.

One mum’s story

jazmine

The conversation around lotus birthing has really picked up lately thanks to a Facebook post from new mum Jazmine Toria.

Jazmine, from Pensylvania, says she fought tooth and nail against her doctors – who advised against it – to keep the placenta attached when she welcomed daughter Nayaeli.

She was ultimately successful, and revealed in the post the ‘spiritual connection’ she had to the placenta, detailing her experience and sharing photos.

Here’s some of what she wrote:

“My experience with my baby girl and her placenta was absolutely phenomenal.

“After her and the placenta was born we first bonded while allowing it to finish pulsating, after that we rinsed it off with warm water, drained it and placed it on an absorbent pad and covered and cured it with lavender essential oil, dried organic rosemary and organic sea salt.

“We then wrapped the absorbent pad around it and placed a silk wrap on it to carry it in. My fiancé did this twice a day.

“My baby and I were very attached to the placenta. Spiritually, I was very attached. What it symbolised meant so much to me.

“Nayaeli would hold her cord while I nursed her and also while she was sleeping. She seemed so calm and peaceful.

“It only took about 2-3 days for it to fall off. It dried up beautifully, it never had a bad odour (smelled great actually), it didn’t cause her any pain or infection and her navel turned out absolutely beautiful.

“No issues whatsoever contrary to what the hospital warned about😑😒. When it fell off it honestly felt like we lost a friend Lol.. for some reason it was a little difficult for me I haven’t tried to understand why yet, I can tell it was different for her as well.

“But I can feel spiritually she was ready and that’s why she released it. We froze it because of the cold weather and snow – we weren’t able to bury it just yet as planned.

“I would definitely recommend this to any and everyone that is expecting. It was a beautiful and very beneficial experience.”

Have your say

Would you consider a lotus birth – or do you reckon this one’s not for you? Maybe you’ve had one and would like to share your story?

Get in touch in the comments below, or leave a comment on Facebook!

Images: Facebook/Jazmine Toria

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