Doctors warn against dangerous 'lotus birth' trend which keeps baby and placenta attached for weeks

Publish Date
Tuesday, 23 May 2017, 12:46PM
Photo / Getty Images

Photo / Getty Images

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A long-held tradition of the delivery room is a partner cutting the umbilical cord of a newborn, but a recent trend has parents skipping the moment altogether.

There has been an increase of mothers deciding on a lotus birth, where the umbilical cord is left attached to the placenta until it falls off on its own, the Daily Mail reports.

The method is hailed by some as a "natural" option with a wave of benefits, such as easing the transition from the womb to the world and giving the child an extra supply of nutrients.

However, doctors are warning against the postpartum fad because they claim it can lead to bacteria and an infection.

The main purpose of a lotus birth is to allow the baby to obtain all the nutrients the placenta has to offer, such as stem cells and recover blood, before the placenta dries up. 

Advocates of the lotus birthing method believe infants are put under unnecessary stress when they are cut off from the remainder of the blood supply that is flowing through the cord from the placenta. 

According to this ideology, this means babies come into the world of their own accord, as well as letting him or her get any of the remaining goodness from the placenta.

After the baby and placenta are delivered, the pouch is placed in a container and is carried around with the infant.

The cord will remain attached to the newborn until it falls away naturally, a process that may take up to 10 days.

#ipuwhenua by @soultribeink #handmadelovemade #lotusbirth

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The trend of lotus birthing first made headlines in 2008 and even then, medical experts were quick to try and shut down the practice. 

The British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned against the method after a small number of women in the UK were opting to have lotus births.

A spokesperson said at the time: "If left for a period of time after the birth, there is a risk of infection in the placenta which can consequently spread to the baby.

"The placenta is particularly prone to infection as it contains blood. Within a short time after birth, once the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating, the placenta has no circulation and is essentially dead tissue.

"If women do opt for umbilical non-severance, the RCOG strongly recommends that their babies be monitored carefully for any signs of infection."

Lotus birth praises the "magical" perks of leaving the umbilical cord uncut and there is research that shows there are benefits of having the cord remain - but no longer than three minutes.

The brief pause after birth could benefit most newborns by delivering them a surge of oxygen-rich blood.

Obstetricians suggest waiting "at least 30 seconds to 60 seconds after birth," for all healthy newborns to boost their health.

It's common in the U.S. for doctors to cut the cord almost immediately, within 15 to 20 seconds of birth, unless the baby is premature. 

#EzRepost @only_one_takeya with @ezrepostapp @Regrann from @frobabies - Lotus Birth: Lotus birth (or umbilical nonseverance) is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after childbirth so that the baby is left attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus, usually a few days after birth. Here are 7 reasons why you might consider lotus birth: Your baby receives all of the placental blood as the umbilical cord is left Promotes a time of rest and peace allowing new parents and their baby to adjust Mother and baby stay together, enhancing the bonding process. Mothers are more likely to rest and recover from birth as they are encouraged to stay with their babies as much as possible. Babies are less likely to be disturbed by being “passed around” as visitors are more likely to be like-minded about lotus birth. Babies are observed by their parents to be calmer and more peaceful than those who have their cords cut immediately after birth. The process and practice honours the connection the baby has had with the placenta that has nourished her for nine months and values the transition stage between womb and world. 🌍#Frobabies #babyFever #melanin #maternity #expecting #babybump #pregnant #newborn #organic #breastfeed #momsofinstagram #mommyblogger #bestoftheday #photooftheday #blacklOve #mommylife #bumppositive #survivor #momlife #queen #goddess #lotusbirth #blackpregnancy#fromomchronicles #treeoflife - #regrann

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An extra half minute may not seem like much, but a lot of oxygen-rich blood reaches the baby through the umbilical cord shortly after birth, Dr. Maria Mascola of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice previously said.

It may flow for up to five minutes, she said, but much of the placental blood transfers in that first minute.

Delaying clamping the umbilical cord by just three minutes reduces anemia in children, by allowing the child to receive more transfused blood containing iron.

This provides them with a healthy blood volume for the transition to life outside of the womb, it is believed.

Anemia, which can impinge mental performance, affects more than 40 percent of all children under the age of five in the world. 

This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.