Lotus Birth/Placenta


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.


Read the next article about Breastfeeding

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Delayed cord clamping


Unclamped cord over the course of 15 minutes.
photo nurturingheartsbirthservices.com

Article source

Delayed cord clamping is a birth practice where the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after pulsations have ceased, or until after the placenta is delivered. A growing number of parents are choosing delayed cord clamping for their baby.

The timing of clamping the umbilical cord, and practices have a sizeable impact on the outcomes or mother and baby. Research has shown that when we delay cord clamping the neonate will receive up to 30% more of the fetal-placental blood volume than it would have with immediate cord clamping.

When your baby is born, the cord and placenta system will contain about one third of your baby’s blood, whilst the remaining two thirds is in the baby.


The benefits of delayed cord clamping for the baby include a normal, healthy blood volume for the transition to life outside the womb; and a full count of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells. For the mother, delayed clamping keeps the mother-baby unit intact and can prevent complications with delivering the placenta.

The placenta

Before birth, the baby and placenta share a circulating blood supply that is separate to the mother’s. Inside the uterus, the placenta and umbilical cord provides the baby with oxygen, nutrients and clears waste. During fetal life, the baby’s organs only need a small flow of blood while the placenta performs the role of lungs, kidneys, gut and liver for the baby. This is why a significant portion of the baby’s total blood volume is in the placenta at any given time. The blood circulating the placenta and cord is not ‘extra’ blood or waste – it belongs to the baby.

Immediately after birth, the cord pulsates as the placenta continues to provide essential oxygen and nutrients, and begins to deliver blood back to the baby. This transfer of blood is called placental transfusionand it is a vital part of the birth process.

Placental transfusion is the system that provides the baby with red blood cells, stem cells, immune cells and blood volume. Delayed cord clamping allows time for the placental transfusion, ensuring safe oxygen levels and blood volume in the baby.

The World Health Organisation states the “optimal time to clamp the umbilical cord for all infants regardless of gestational age or fetal weight is when the circulation in the cord has ceased, and the cord is flat and pulseless (approximately 3 minutes or more after birth).”

Risks of immediate cord clamping 

For many decades, various studies have shown that immediate or early cord clamping disrupts normal physiology, anatomy and the birth process – it severs the baby from the still-functioning placenta and halts the circulation of blood.

Large studies have shown that immediate cord clamping can result in lower iron stores in the baby for up to 6 months after birth. While not all the implications of a reduced iron status are understood, iron deficiency in the first few months of life is associated with neurodevelopmental delay, which may be irreversible.

Early cord clamping can cause complications for the mother, too. There is some evidence that early clamping increases the risk of post-partum hemorrhage and retained placenta by engorging the placenta with the baby’s blood. This makes it harder for the uterus to contract and expel the placenta.

Risk of delayed cord clamping

Small studies have shown that delaying cord clamping increases the risk of jaundice. A study found that 3% of babies who experienced early cord clamping, compared to 5% of babies who experienced delayed cord clamping required treatment for jaundice.

In summary

Delayed cord clamping leaves the cord alone after birth and avoids disrupting the normal birth process. While the cord is pulsating, placental transfusion is supplying the baby with oxygen, nutrients and an increased blood volume to support the transition to life outside the womb.

Delayed cord clamping confers many benefits to the newborn baby including higher number of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells at birth. In premature or compromised babies, delayed cord clamping may provide essential life support, restore blood volume and protect against organ damage, brain injury and death.”


This is the recommendations from the ACOG website : 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice makes the following recommendations regarding the timing of umbilical cord clamping after birth:

  • In term infants, delayed umbilical cord clamping increases hemoglobin levels at birth and improves iron stores in the first several months of life, which may have a favorable effect on developmental outcomes.
  • Delayed umbilical cord clamping is associated with significant neonatal benefits in preterm infants, including improved transitional circulation, better establishment of red blood cell volume, decreased need for blood transfusion, and lower incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis and intraventricular hemorrhage.
  • Given the benefits to most newborns and concordant with other professional organizations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends a delay in umbilical cord clamping in vigorous term and preterm infants for at least 30–60 seconds after birth.
  • There is a small increase in the incidence of jaundice that requires phototherapy in term infants undergoing delayed umbilical cord clamping. Consequently, obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers adopting delayed umbilical cord clamping in term infants should ensure that mechanisms are in place to monitor and treat neonatal jaundice.
  • Delayed umbilical cord clamping does not increase the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

Read the next article about Lotus birth & Placenta

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