Despite the name, a lotus birth is nothing to do with giving birth on the back seat of a flash sports car. It is in fact the practice of letting the mother expel the placenta after giving birth without medical intervention, and leaving the placenta and umbilical cord attached to the newborn until the cord withers and detaches naturally. Few hospitals offer this method and it tends to be practised by those women who choose a home birth.
By contrast, when the third stage of labour (the immediate period post-delivery of the baby) is managed, as it tends to be in hospital, the umbilical cord is cut and clamped and the mother simultaneously given an injection which makes the womb contract and expel the placenta quickly. The placenta is then checked to ensure that it is healthy and complete, ensuring that none is left inside the mother, which can lead to complications.
Exponents of lotus birth believe that this interference has drawbacks and that lotus birth is healthier for the baby in the following ways:
- The cord is left to pulsate and allows extended blood flow from baby to mother
- Vital oxygen via the umbilical cord tides the baby over until he has started breathing on his own
- It’s a gentler way to be born and lotus babies are less likely to cry
- The baby remains attached to the mother post birth and this precious time encourages deeper bonding
Of course, a lotus birth isn’t for everyone. Many women couldn’t countenance the idea of staying physically attached to their newborn – complete with smelly, decaying placenta – for several days. However, for some, it is the most natural thing in the world and a unique and precious time.
Now tell us what worked for you…
Did you have a lotus birth? How did it go?