Lotus Birth: Procedure, Benefits, Risks and Care

Lotus Birth – Benefits and Risks

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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One of the more unique forms of giving birth has been catching on lately, in a trend labelled as “lotus birth”. Here, the mother gives birth to the child normally except with one catch – The umbilical cord is still connected. Read on o know more.

What Is Lotus Birth

The lotus delivery method is believed to be a very popular method because parents believe that the child can receive nourishment even after the process is over. Via the umbilical cord, a lotus baby will still be connected to the mother, who will carry the cord in a bowl or special pouch, for a few days. Once the cord decomposes naturally, they can dispose of it.

Many advocates of the lotus birthing method feel that it aids in helping the baby get acquainted with the new world they’re entering. They also believe that keeping the umbilical cord connected has health benefits and is good for the child.

How Did This Trend Start?

The lotus birthing trend does not have a genuine starting source, however, one of the first instances of its appearances is said to be in ancient Balinese cultures and Aborigines. There have been a few early American pioneers who have written about the practice as well.

However, the trend began increasing in popularity somewhere in the 80s in the west. Many mothers feel that allowing the cord to decompose naturally is the best way to go about lotus birthing.

There have been reports suggesting that the lotus birthing method began way back in medieval times. However, that was due to a lack of information or better judgement. A lot of doctors also feel that people have gained inspiration to follow this method after watching chimpanzees do the same.

The first proper study record of this form of birthing was documented somewhere in 2001.

Benefits of Lotus Birth

There are a few benefits of lotus birth that many practitioners feel work in favour of the lotus birth method:

  1. By not cutting the umbilical cord, around 80-100 mL extra blood can be transferred to the child and aid in the development of their brains. The placenta is at the same level as the child to allow the transfer of blood.
  1. Mothers feel that babies acquaint themselves better to the world with the lotus birthing method. Here, they feel that babies are much calmer because they still have some sort of attachment to the womb even after birth.
  1. The haemoglobin levels of the blood transferred are also considered to increase via this method of birth.

Risks Involved With Lotus Birth

There are a few lotus birth complications as well which a lot of doctors warn against. Doctors feel that having the umbilical cord attached to the baby even after birth can increase bacterial infection. Also, with the dead tissue attached to the baby for so long, lotus birth infection can spread to the child and cause problems and diseases.

The child is at a very delicate stage and is very prone to diseases as their immune systems are not as developed. By keeping the umbilical cord on, the micro-organisms in the environment around have a big chance of attacking the dead tissue and latching onto them.

Mothers tend to rub salt or essential oils in order to ensure that the placenta is still fresh and healthy. However, a lot of doctors recommend that they do away with this form of the birthing process itself in its entirety. Also, the practice of delayed cord clamping also improves blood hemoglobin levels; this is a common practice now.

Risks Involved With Lotus Birth

How Is Placenta Care Done?

To know exactly how lotus birth placenta care is done, you will have to know what sort of substances you can use.

  • Check if the placenta is intact and then level the placenta with the baby till the Wharton’s Jelly (a substance in the umbilical cord) is solid. This means the blood transfusion process is over.
  • Drain the placenta for 24 hours in a strainer near the baby.
  • With warm water, wash the placenta and remove blood clots and pat it dry.
  • The placenta can be placed on a breathable cloth and allowed to be air-dried.
  • To improve the process of drying, you can use salt. Further, essential oil, dried flowers or powdered spices can be used as well.
  • Keep the placenta close to the baby to stop it from tugging the cord. They could be sensitive to the cord and placenta’s touch.
  • Once it dries, the cord automatically becomes brittle and falls off on its own.

Mothers who insist on following this method must ensure that the child is kept in a safe and hygienic environment. The placenta has a higher chance of getting in touch with dangerous substances, and this could prove to be very harmful to the child if it is not checked. Ensure proper precautions while attempting this birthing method.

Thus, the placenta can naturally be allowed to fall off in this form of birthing. The lotus birthing method has polarised opinions all over the world because of the way in which it is conducted. Mothers who believe that it provides the child with essential nutrients must ensure that they follow all precautions and methods to keep it smooth and supple. Plus in a country like India, where the variety and severeity of infections are high, this is very risky for the baby.

It can be hard for mothers to let go of the one thing that connects the child to their body. However, if there are significant health risks involved in the process, they should be allowed to let go. The child’s health cannot be put at risk, and it is best to consult a doctor in order to proceed.

Also Read: How to Deliver a Baby at Home

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