Of all the memories I have from my children’s births, the cutting of the cord is not one of them. It actually wasn’t until we got home from hospital that I realised that I had missed the event entirely and I was so bummed out. The only way to rectify the situation was to interrogate my husband and ask 9027 questions about it, but for a man who isn’t partial to reminiscing, he didn’t give me much info except for, “it was rubbery and was tougher to cut through than I thought.” So sweet.
Anyway, the other day I was having a read about a trend called ‘Lotus Birthing’. Heard of it? Neither had I, so here’s how it goes: Traditionally, when a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, severing it from the placenta. In a Lotus Birth, the cord remains attached to the placenta (and baby) until it falls off naturally, which could be up to around ten days. I remember when the tiny little bit of cord fell off my daughter’s belly button when I was cleaning it a couple of days after we got home from hospital and I freaked out – but not before wrapping it in a tissue and putting it in a special box. I’ve still got it and it looks like a sultana that has seen better days.
Even beyond what the benefits are, my first question is….how does it logistically work? A placenta is pretty big, so how does it remain attached without bothering the baby? How do you get around with it? Basically, the placenta is put in a container (sometimes with sea salt and herbs such as rosemary and lavender to help with preservation) and carried around with the baby until the two naturally part ways. Sorta like a big, messy handbag, if you will. #babysfirstbag.
But back to the benefits. It is believed that leaving the cord and placenta attached allows the baby to transition out of their womb home and into the big, wide world in the most gentle way possible. Newborns are also thought to be able to continue absorbing all the good blood, nutrients and stem cells carried in the placenta right up until it dries out. And there seems to be some valid medical backing of the benefits of delaying the cutting of the cord; however according to Mervi Jokinen from the Royal College of Midwives, this is only for a period of 30 seconds to three minutes. Beyond that, things could get a little dangerous.
Dr Jennifer Guntner, an OB/GYN, told ATTN, “Why anyone with an understanding of modern microbiology would promote leaving a newborn attached to dead, decomposing tissue that could be a [source of] infection is beyond me. Bacteria grows very quickly in dead tissue and stagnant blood.” She added that the practise of discarding the placenta “wouldn’t have become the norm” if it contained added benefits for babies beyond birth.
Like anything to do with pregnancy and birth, they’ll be a gazillion different opinions on Lotus Birthing. While it personally isn’t my cup of tea, there’s no doubt that the pics are pretty mind-blowing. Seriously, how incredible are placentas???
Do you know anyone who has had a Lotus Birth?