Not Cutting the Cord (Literally)

There’s a growing movement among mothers giving birth and you probably have never heard of it. It’s called lotus birth – where baby’s umbilical cord and placenta remains attached to the baby after they’re born until it naturally falls off. This usually takes between two and ten days. This choice seems to be growing among natural birth mothers throughout the country, and is practiced elsewhere around the world.

Lotus births mean that because baby is still attached to the umbilical cord and placenta, he or she can’t be moved around much, which gives the parents and baby a chance to bond undisturbed until the cord naturally detaches.

Because the placenta is a large organ, with lotus births it must be rinsed off and ridded of blood clots. It’s then typically placed in a bowl, on cotton, and adorned with flowers, essential oils or other items of the parents’ choosing.

Advocates of lotus birth believe that it is the natural way to bring a child into the world, and that cutting the cord is a medical tradition that began in hospitals to hasten the delivery process and be more convenient for the medical staff.

There is also the thought that the stem cell and nutrient-rich blood that still is in the placenta after birth will go directly to the baby if it remains intact.

Opponents of lotus birth, including many in the medical community, fear a risk of infection in the placenta which can spread to the baby. However, there are some studies that show delaying cord clamping by just 30 to 60 seconds can have benefits for the baby including higher hemoglobin levels and higher birth weight.

Bottom line: it may not be clear when exactly the cord should be cut, but it’s up to individuals to decide what’s best for them and their baby. Perhaps more research should be done, particularly on the safety of not cutting the cord.

About the Author...
Liz Hayes
Liz loves spending time outdoors, working out, traveling, taking in the arts, reading and catching up on TV.

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