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Lotus birth: Is it for you?

A new trend arises as parents are choosing a Lotus birth for their babies. We analyse how this started, what the benefits are, as well as criticism of this method.

What is a Lotus birth?

It signifies leaving the umbilical cord intact after birth. The baby remains attached to the placenta. The cord will eventually become dry and fall off within three to ten days. In contrast to the normal severance of the cord, there will be no wound.

The practice is actually traditional to some cultures, such as the Balinese culture. The Lotus birth was revived during the 1980s by parents who were seeking gentler methods for postnatal care.

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In Bali birth centres, this is the routine protocol. The placenta is kept in a small wooden basket. In modern practice, there are special bags where you can put the placenta. Wrapping it in a clean cloth is the alternative. Salted water and different oils or herbs can be used for the placenta and umbilical cord. The placenta is normally preserved for later use in many cultures, a practice that has caught on nowadays.

Benefits of the Lotus birth

Advocates of the practice say that the practice can have several benefits for mother and child.

  • The baby still receives blood from the placenta if the cord is not severed. This can prevent some newborn health conditions such as anemia or hypoglicemia. The blood that the baby receives is oxygenated, and contains nutrients and antibodies. 
  • The intact placenta can also remove toxins from the newborn, thus protecting the young liver.
  • Some parents who did the Lotus type of birth said their child was more peaceful. Advocates say there is less trauma when the cord is left intact.
  • The risk of infection is lower. As the cord is cut, a stub remains behind that can get infected. Studies showed that leaving the cord fall off on its own leads to faster healing of the navel.
  • If you have multiples, the benefits are higher, as the little ones could really need the extra nutrients from placental blood.

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Cons to the Lotus birth

In our modern times it can be a bit hard to become keen about such practices. It is certainly something that the majority of hospitals won’t even consider. There are doctors that are open to Lotus type births, but it can be hard to find one.

Having the placenta to carry around may be an inconvenience for some. It can also ooze smells unless it is cured with salt or herbs. Also, keeping the placenta as a memorabilia is not something all parents find attractive.

All in all, a Lotus birth does have enough benefits to outweigh the cons. The alternative would be to ask your doctor for a delayed cord clamping. This is something all women should consider, as getting than extra blood to the baby can be essential.

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