New 'Lotus Birthing' Trend Seems Like a Really Bad Idea

Say What!? 56

There certainly have been a lot of birthing fads over the years. Water births. Free birthing. Orgasmic births. Then you have all of those things that you can do now right after the birth. Like save the placenta and chop it up and add it to your salad, or make a nice necklace out of it. But now there's a whole new placenta thingy going on that encourages you to do nothing with it. Yep, nothing. Leave it right there. Right where it is, attached to the baby's belly by the umbilical cord. And leave that alone too. Don't touch! Let it dry up and fall off naturally, which can take anywhere from three days to an entire week. It's called "lotus birthing." Sure, it's kind of gross and no one really wants to touch your kid, but, according to these lotus-y moms, you shouldn't have anyone touching your kid in the first weeks after birth anyway!

A growing group of women (and men!) are leaving their babies' umbilical cord and placenta right where they were when they came out of the womb, for as long as they naturally want to be there. Moms who do this say that this source of nutrients and oxygen can only be beneficial to baby the longer it stays on.

One mom even notes a profound difference in the way her two children behaved moments after birth -- one who had the umbilical cord cut in the traditional way and one who didn't. Leta Elliot, who was encouraged to lotus birth by her husband, Steve Meyer, says that their first baby, Lara, had her cord clamped right away and that she made an "anguished noise" and that "before that, she had been really happy." Lotus lovers believe the umbilical cord, which the baby holds onto during gestation, gives great comfort to the child, who continues to grasp it after birth.

With their second child, Sophia, Leta and Elliot tried lotus birthing and she "was born at home and was very floppy and chilled out with a faraway look in her eyes for the first seven days, until her cord fell off."

Hm, a "floppy and chilled out" baby would kind of scare me, but maybe that's just because moms are so accustomed to having babies scream all of the time? Maybe this is a better way?

However, obstetricians actually think lotus birthing can put your baby in danger. The British obstetricians group put out a statement that said:

If you wanted to pick an environment that encourages bacteria to grow you probably could not do better than to leave the placenta attached after birth. Soon after the baby is born there is no longer any circulation in the placenta, so it’s dead tissue and full of blood, making it the perfect culture medium for bacteria ... If the placenta remains attached, that risk of infection is greater.

Um, yikes?

Lotus birthing doesn't sound like something everyone should just start doing -- granted, doctors do often change their minds about things, but usually with a lot of research behind it. Sometimes I feel like moms are outdoing each other to try and nab the "crunchy mom of the year" award without any real benefit to baby, and possible risk too. It just seems like something to brag about on the playground. "Oh, I made cookies out of my placenta ..." "Yeah, well, I made earrings out of mine and here they are!" and then some mom comes along and trumps them all with, "Well, my baby is still wearing her placenta, so there!"

Would you keep your baby's placenta on?


Image via Luis De Bethencourt/Flickr

baby first year, childbirth


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Lilit... Lilith.23

That's f*cking nasty!


Seriously i'm an open minded person but this is sick!

nonmember avatar Ah

While I don't see the benefit past delayed cutting, I also don't see the harm. The blood is no longer circulating, so the only part in contact with the baby is what would be the umbilical stump, which cut or not, is dead tissue waiting to fall off. There is no reason the bacteria would be any worse if the placenta is there. It is usually wrapped in a cloth and allowed to dry. Interestingly, most primates carry their baby AND placenta until the placenta naturally falls off.

PeterandEmily Fitzgerald

While it's a good idea to leave it on for 30-60 minutes too long leads to infection and decomposing material and dried blood in the baby. Keeping it on for a short amount of time greatly increases the amount of blood the baby has.

Taisie Taisie

I think that during birth at the hospital, Dr's do cut the cord too quickly. I personally feel that it shouldn't be cut until after the placenta is passed, and blood flow between baby and mom stops. I definitely do not think it should be left hanging off the child until it falls off naturally, that seriously puts your baby at risk for infection! But again, as always, this is just my humble opinion :)

Movie... Moviebuff

Thats really gross and dangerous for the babies. These crunchy moms are crazy.

Katha... Katharine205

I absolutely agree with the "crunchy mom of the year award" thing

jayha... jayhawk00

I love how all these people think they are experts now, completely ignoring years and years of study and scientific advancement by professionals way more intelligent than themselves. 

MamaT... MamaTo2b2g

It really is all about being a braggart and one-upping everyone else. So stupid. And dangerous.

Austi... Austinsmommy12

No. Just no. I'm sort of rendered speechless about this one, honestly.

Jsunk... JsunkissedB

we left ours on for a couple of hours, I dont know about days or a weeks. To each there own, theres no right or wrong just preference. 

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