lotus birth photo

Courtesy of Photobucket.com

Lotus birth is a trending phenomenon but is it safe?

The importance of the umbilical cord and placenta during pregnancy cannot be overstated. It is where the unborn fetus receives nutrients, oxygen and “communication” from its mother. In traditional practices, once the baby is born, cord blood is obtained, the umbilical cord is then clamped, cut, and the placenta is delivered within 30 minutes after the delivery and discarded as medical waste. In a Lotus Birth, the umbilical cord remains attached to both the placenta and baby until it naturally falls off, generally 2 to 3 days after birth.

The rationale for Lotus Birth is holistic in nature, according to its advocates.  Keeping the placenta and the baby tied together until the umbilical cord allegedly gives the greatest amount of nutrients to the baby as well as improves the baby’s emotional well-being. To be fair and balanced, there are medical studies that support the practice of “delayed” umbilical cord clamping beyond the traditional 20-30 second time period. The benefits of the increased blood received during the delayed cord clamping include the baby receiving more stem-cell blood that would improve its immune system, oxygen and iron levels. However, there was also an increased number of babies who required phototherapy as a result of jaundice.

Those who advocate the practice of allowing the umbilical cord to fall off naturally believe that the placenta, umbilical cord and baby share the “same energy field.” The continued attachment of the baby to its umbilical allegedly allows “the baby to gently let go of its attachment to its mother’s body.” This ritual has allegedly been done in Eastern cultures for centuries but is that enough evidence to recommend its use? I think not. Three things immediately come to mind when discussing this ritual: risk of infection to mother and baby, potential offensive odor and adverse effects on the mother and baby.

To quote the scientist W Edwards Deming “In God we trust, everyone else bring data.” Until the advocates of Lotus Birth can give you evidenced-based data to support this practice — buyer, please beware.