Lotus birth / Placenta

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What to do with your placenta ?

This is the interesting and relatively « new » trend I want to speak about. 

In most cases, when a baby is born, the cord is cut just after he or she is born, then the placenta detach and is being delivered few minutes later (sometimes can takes an hour). 

More and more parents and hospitals are seeing the benefits of delayed cord clamping, which i’m talking about here : delayed cord clamping.

This lotus birth is a step further. It involves leaving the baby attached to the placenta until the cord detach by itself, it can take approximately up to 10 days. Obviously, there is no medical benefit of it. Following a baby’s birth (first breath),  less than 5-10 minutes later, the cord stop pulsating : there’s no more exchanges between the placenta and the baby. Lotus birth can be « half » (few hours) or « full » (until the cord detach from the baby). 

Back to few years ago, when I learned about it, I was a little bit puzzled. Why on earth people would choose that ? Especially since there is no medical benefits. I didn’t understand. I wanted a wireless baby. A wifi baby ! 

Now that I’m constantly looking for new trends, new researches, or just spend a lot of time being with new parents, new moms and newborns, I realized there is benefits of a lotus birth :

  • For some parents, having their baby being held by someone else the first days of life is extremely hard. Sometimes, families or friends forgot good manners with the excitation and joy and we can witness a newborn baby passing from arms to arms the whole afternoon under the perplexed look of the new parents. Well, let’s say that having a baby attached to a placenta will make it way harder and awkward for friends and families to hold the baby. 
  • In the womb, a baby is in a warm atmosphere, always fed and comfortable, hearing her mother’s heartbeat. MRI and ultrasounds shows that babies are already playing in the womb with their ombilical cord who act as a « lovey ». I recently read an article about octopus being given to preemie for comfort. Some people think that lotus birth are a way for a baby to adapt softly to this whole new world.
     
  • One other benefit I see is for the new mother. In the 21st century, it can be hard to rest after the birth. Yet, it’s really important during the post partum period to do close to nothing the first week, and take it extremely slow after that. The mother will recover much faster. Having to carry not only the baby but also the placenta around might be more challenging. I remember I was especially bad about resting when my daughter was born : I couldn’t stay in bed. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an hyperactive kind of girl, but I need to get things done. My midwives were urging me to stay 1 week in bed, getting up only for the bathroom, showering etc. I was forbidden to climb our stairs during week 1. It was SO hard for me. I believe that having my daughter in lotus would have clearly made things much harder for me !

Now the risks …. since the placenta/cord are dead tissues; with no refrigeration, it will rot. Bacterias can spread and an infection can occur, which can become life threatening for the newborn. It is very important to take care of the placenta, DIY kits exists for that, most of them are sold by doulas. The placenta’s care generally involve to rince it, dry it, and then kind of « season it » with salt, herbs, essential oil, flowers, all wrapped in a fabric bag. If you choose to try the Lotus Birth, it’s important to keep an eye on the placenta, any bad smell should alert you. What we see in stories is that the placenta in lotus birth should have a « musky smell » after being cared of, but nothing terrible.

Lotus birth might also be impossible in case the cord needs to be cut at birth, if the baby or mother needs urgent care.

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Read the next article about Breastfeeding

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