Lotus birth is a fairly new trend in childbirth. While many parents advocate it, doctors criticize it. What makes this birth special is that the umbilical cord is not cut.
After delivery, the placenta remains on the baby. It is prepared with salt and sometimes with herbs. This involves a lot of labor. According to proponents, the delivery without umbilical cord should give the baby a better start in life.
Blood loss is less. The umbilicus heals faster and there is no umbilical infection when the umbilical cord and placenta fall off on their own.
However, doctors say the risk of infection for the baby may be higher with a lotus birth because the placenta can become infected if it is not properly prepared.
You can learn everything you need to know about lotus birth here.
Table of contents
Basic facts about lotus birth
The lotus birth trend originated in the United States, where it was first practiced by Claire Lotus Bay in the 1970s. As this was the first Western woman to forgo the baby’s weaning, this form of birth was initially popular mainly in esoteric circles.
Some primitive peoples have probably been practicing this ritual for longer. This behavior was first observed in chimpanzees in 1964 by the primatologist Jane Goodall.
The umbilical cord is not cut following delivery, but remains connected to the placenta.
Along with the placenta, the umbilical cord falls off on its own. This can take up to ten days. The placenta is prepared and stored in a designated container.
It is important to do the dissection consistently and to care for the placenta regularly to prevent infection.
How does the lotus birth proceed?
In a normal birth, the umbilical cord is cut as soon as the baby has passed through the vagina . However, it is possible to wait up to three minutes for the cord to be cut. During this time, the so-called pulsation out is completed.
Nutrient exchange and blood exchange between the placenta and the baby then no longer take place. In a lotus birth, on the other hand, there is no abruption at all. This is intended to make it easier for the baby to switch to lung breathing.
The baby is held lower than the placenta for the first few minutes following delivery. The blood flow from the placenta to the baby is thus supported. The midwife washes the placenta and wraps it in a clean cloth.
The placenta must now be prepared. The baby is cared for and dressed as usual.
Dressing the baby properly
Since the baby is not aborted, it is important to dress the baby properly. During a lotus birth, it is important to avoid injury from pulling on the placenta or umbilical cord. Romper suits cover the entire abdomen.
Birth pictures show how the baby’s clothes might look after the lotus birth.
Bodysuits, a baby sling or rompers with a button placket are suitable, as well as panties and jackets. You can dress your baby in normal clothes once the navel has healed.
What you should keep in mind for a lotus birth
In addition to the right clothes for your baby, there are other things you should consider during a lotus birth:
- Preparing and storing the placenta
- Avoid injury to the baby by pulling on the umbilicus during movements such as diapering, nursing or washing
- Watch out for infections in the baby and consult the pediatrician immediately in case of infections
- Pay attention to special hygiene in the baby’s environment to prevent infections from occurring
- Do not pass baby around and let others hold him.
How is the placenta prepared during a lotus birth?
In order to prevent infections, the placenta must be properly prepared after the birth. Even if blood circulation through the placenta has stopped, the placenta must be preserved.
The baby’s oxygen and nutrient supply should be ensured, even if the baby has to be breastfed and has switched to lung breathing. Proponents of lotus birth point out that a quarter of the blood is still in the placenta.
This is to spare the baby a high blood loss. The placenta must be cleaned of blood clots. This is usually done by rinsing it under running water. The baby must be held close during this process. The placenta is placed in a sieve and must drain.
After 24 hours, it is salted for the first time. Additionally, it can be treated with essential oils and herbs to make it smell better. Some advocates of lotus birth recommend lavender flowers, as they have anti-inflammatory properties.
The drying of the placenta should be accelerated, and the bacterial putrefaction process should be stopped. Henceforth, the placenta must be re-salted daily. In the first few days, the placenta releases fluid. The cloths and the salt should be changed every 12 to 24 hours.
You should also check them for possible rotting spots and foul odors. The placenta can be stored in a bag or clay container. You can find the addresses for bags and other containers as well as sewing instructions for placenta bags on the Internet.
The room where the baby and placenta are kept must always be clean to prevent infection.
Furthermore, it is important that the umbilical cord is not stretched so that there is no injury to the navel.
The healing of the navel in a lotus birth
In a lotus birth, the umbilical cord falls off after 10 days at the latest. The navel is then healed. The placenta with the umbilical cord can be disposed of. However, many parents do not simply dispose of the placenta.
With lotus birth, if the placenta is cared for properly, umbilical infection does not occur. You don’t have to worry about taking care of the umbilicus. Once the umbilicus is healed, you can bathe your baby in a baby bath.
Advantages of the lotus birth
Proponents of lotus birth believe that the baby will get an extra dose of oxygen if he or she is not delivered. They believe that lotus birth helps the baby breathe through the lungs. Blood loss after birth is said to be less for the baby.
The baby gets more iron in the process, and the baby’s existing iron stores are protected. The baby’s immune system is said to be strengthened. Lotus birth is said to work for the baby similar to a blood transfusion.
However, some doctors believe that a prolonged connection between the placenta and the baby is not necessary. After birth, the baby is said to be more relaxed and gain weight more easily. The risk of the baby getting jaundice is also said to be lower.
Some proponents even think that after a lotus birth the baby has a higher IQ and develops better fine motor skills. However, this has not been scientifically proven.
Lotus birth is also said to have benefits for the mother. According to proponents, the mother can handle the birth better because the baby is not separated from the placenta by a cut.
What are the risks of lotus birth?
When it comes to lotus birth, the potential risks should not be forgotten. A scientific benefit of lotus birth for the baby has not yet been established. Most doctors and clinics warn against this birth ritual.
They see the risk mainly in the increased risk of infection from the placenta, since it is dead tissue. The placenta is filled with blood. Bacteria can settle on it and spread to the baby.
You should consult your doctor immediately at the first sign of infection. Stem cell collection from the umbilical cord is not possible in a lotus birth.
A lotus birth involves an increased effort for hygiene. It should therefore take place under medical supervision.
This is not so easy, as most doctors advise against it.
Which is better? Lotus birth or early weaning?
The World Health Organization (WHO) is critical of lotus birth. However, it recommends delayed weaning after three minutes at the most. The exchange of blood and nutrients between the placenta and the baby ends when the umbilical cord has pulsated out.
The benefits cited by lotus birth proponents are based only on later weaning. Results on later weaning and the benefits are available.
The advantage is that the later separation of the baby from the placenta acts like an autonomous blood transfusion for the baby.
The amount of red blood cells in the baby’s blood is increased. However, there is no evidence that children who were later aborted have higher IQs. The rate of brain hemorrhage in premature infants decreases by 50 percent when they are later aborted.
Mothers who are anemic have a better blood supply to the baby. Later cord cutting and pulsation of the umbilical cord are recommended, while lotus birth is a questionable trend.
Where is a lotus birth possible?
Most hospitals reject a lotus birth. The critical attitude of doctors towards lotus birth is not the only reason. Due to the higher germ density in the air in the hospital, the risk of infection is too high.
However, lotus birth is possible in home births and in some birth centers.
If you decide to have a lotus birth, you should look for an experienced midwife to assist you.
Is a lotus birth also possible in case of a cesarean section
A lotus birth is possible during a cesarean section, but it is rarely practiced. Most clinics do not allow lotus birth.
During a cesarean section, it is important that the placenta is quickly released from the uterus so that the uterus and the abdominal incision can be closed again quickly.
You should find out exactly in which clinic a cesarean section with lotus birth is possible if you are planning this birth.
Which sets are available for the lotus birth?
You can find various sets for lotus birth on the Internet. Such sets consist of a bag for the placenta, which is usually made of cotton, sea salt and some herbs for preservation.
In addition, gauze diapers and other cloths are often included to store the placenta.
What to do with the placenta if the umbilical cord has fallen off?
Some parents eat the placenta when the umbilical cord has fallen off, while others find it unappetizing. Some lotus birth advocates believe that placenta is rich in nutrients and can boost the immune system. However, there is no scientific evidence for this.
Placenta can also be dried, made into powder and then taken with food. You can find various recipes on the Internet, for example for smoothies.
However, eating the placenta after lotus birth is controversial. Many parents bury the placenta in the garden and plant a small tree on it. Pictures of birth, in connection with a little tree on the buried placenta, are a beautiful image.
Lotus birth: Conclusion
Lotus birth is criticized by doctors because it can mean an increased risk of infection for the baby. The WHO is also critical of lotus birth. The umbilical cord is not cut during lotus birth. Together with the placenta, it is supposed to fall off the baby within ten days.
To prevent infection, the placenta must be prepared with salt. Proponents of lotus birth believe that the baby is better supplied with blood. However, this is also guaranteed if the cord is cut within three minutes after delivery.
There is no umbilical infection during a lotus birth. You do not have to worry about navel care. Hospitals do not usually allow lotus birth.
However, it is possible in birth centers and home births and should be done under the supervision of an experienced midwife.
First and foremost, you should find out at an early stage which types of birth are suitable for you. How about a water birth, for example?