Lotus Birth refers to natural birthing experiences when the placenta is left attached to the newborn by cord, until the cord falls off naturally. (This is different from delayed cord-clamping, when the cord is left uncut for the first minutes or hour of a babies life) Lotus birth may provide even more time for the newborn to receive stem cells and recover blood from the placenta, and, some parents believe, this can help a newborn in the transition to world-life. If this is something that interests you, I encourage you to research this topic yourself in books and on the internet. You may enjoy hearing other mothers’ stories or learning about theories on the spiritual benefit of not cutting the cord.
The cord will fall off naturally on its own, however this process will take a week or two and careful treatment of the placenta and cord will be required. Lotus birth works best (and indeed may only be feasible) when a mother is well supported in the postpartum and has the ability to settled and in close, constant contact with her baby. The cord becomes harder as it dries, and care must be taken not to disturb it or break it until the naval is healed and the cord falls off naturally. Sudden movements should be avoided, and care must be taken with clothing and diapering.
Protocol for Lotus Birth
- When the baby is born, leave the umbilical cord intact. If the cord is around the baby’s neck, simply lift it over.
- Wait for the natural delivery of the placenta. Do not use oxytocin – this forces too much too soon into the infant and compromises the placenta delivery.
- When the placenta delivers, place it into a receiving bowl beside the mother.
- Wait for full transfusion of the umbilical blood into the baby before handling the placenta.
- Gently wash the placenta with warm water and pat dry.
- Place the placenta into a sieve or colander for 24hrs to allow drainage.
- Wrap the placenta in absorbent material, a nappy or cloth and put in into a placenta bag. The covering is changed daily or more often if seepage occurs. Alternatively, the placenta may be laid on a bed of sea salt (which is changed daily) and liberally covered with salt. (this is recommended). Herbs and essential oils may be used to help in the drying process and lend a pleasant scent.
- The baby is held and fed as the mother wishes.
- The baby is clothed loosely.
- The baby can be bathed as usual (avoiding the navel and cord) – keep the placenta with it but out of the water.
- Keep movement to a minimum.