A “lotus birth” trend is underway in a strange effort to be more natural. The birthing trend involves leaving the placenta attached to a newborn until the umbilical cord falls off on its own.
The trend means that new mothers and fathers have to carry around the red blob of placenta for up to 10 days, instead of having a doctor or medical provider cut the cord immediately after birth.
Lotus birth, or “umbilical nonseverance” is a newer trend, though it dates back to traditional Balinese practices. When the umbilical cord remains attached, it will seal itself off about an hour after birth. It will fully detach anywhere from two to 10 days after birth.
“It is a trend getting more notice in western culture particularly among holistically inclined people. [It’s] just as another way to create optimal beginnings for babies.”
Dr. James Van Hook, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, says there should be a balance between nature and safety regarding birthing trends. He explained that a momentary delay of clamping the umbilical cord after birth can give newborns one more chance to receive a final transfusion of blood cells rich in stem cells.
Theoretically, this final transfusion can help them fight off infections. But this effect has been seen before clamping, not when the umbilical cord is left to close off naturally. Van Hook believes the most risky part of a lotus birth is ensuring the area around the umbilical cord stays clean.
The umbilical cord and placenta should also not impact the baby’s care. The doctor added that, while the practice is certainly unconventional, he wouldn’t deny parents the right to have one, as long as there are no underlying side effects.
Would you consider a lotus birth? What about other non-traditional birthing trends?
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