Have you heard of the latest birthing fad?
It’s called the “Lotus Birth”. I thought it had something to do with the lotus flower, but apparently it’s just the name of the first woman to encourage the practice.
What is Lotus Birth?
A Lotus Birth is one where the umbilical cord isn’t clamped once the baby is born. Unlike delayed cord-clamping, the cord and the placenta remain attached to the baby until it falls off. This can take anything between three and ten days.
What are the claimed benefits?
The biggest reasoning given for this concept is based on the fact that the placenta is formed from the same egg-and-sperm that gives rise to the baby, and therefore it is part of the baby, and therefore it must not be violently severed from the baby.
(Hey, here’s an idea: practise Kangaroo Mother Care. That should help Baby to feel REALLY close to Mom.)
I could say that my cord was clamped and I don’t experience lingering trauma; but that would be as unscientific as the evidence for LB.
What are the health implications?
What really gets my goat is the so-called health benefit of lotus birth. Proponents claim that it reduces risk of infection, because there’s no open stump.
No. You’re right. There’s no open stump.
THERE IS A FREAKING OPEN PLACENTA!
Have you seen a placenta lately? The whole thing is a portal for infection.
It is said that the placenta must be liberally covered with coarse salt to prevent infection. Why, pray, is that then any better than protecting the stump from infection?
Isn’t it better for the baby in the long run?
Studies show* that babies with delayed cord clamping have higher intermediate-term HB, which is great. These babies are also, however, at risk for complications from polycythaemia, including jaundice.
Nevertheless, delayed cord clamping has some health benefits. But only when the delay is up to a 10-20 minutes, after which the cord clamps internally and stops pulsating. So then it literally is just a dead weight. Like a necrotic toe that’s really no use. And a risk to the remaining living tissue.
That’s right. The baby is above the cord. Which means if the cord hasn’t been internally clamped yet, there will be a retrograde flow into the placenta and Baby actually loses blood.
If it’s after ten minutes, the blood in the placenta itself has started to clot and is of no benefit to the baby.
Also, have you smelled a placenta recently? It stinks really badly. It’s impractical to carry around. It’s a piece of raw meat.
Delayed cord-clamping has some proven health benefits, whereas Lotus Birth has none. You want to do something on a whim, believing that it will make your child happier in the long run, fine by me. But do not go around claiming that keeping your child connected to it placenta til it rots off is a health benefit. You will just irk anyone with some understanding of basic life sciences. Albeit an as-yet unqualified opinion, I would not encourage this practice – and I have received similar feedback from my consultants.
- Effect of timing of umbilical cord clamping of term infants on maternal and neonatal outcomes,Susan J. McDonald & Philippa Middleton, Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group