Leaving the baby with their umbilical cord and placenta still attached, until the cord dries and naturally separates at the umbilicus is called a Lotus Birth. This can take anywhere from 3-10 days. This prolonged contact is seen as a time of transition, allowing the baby to slowly and gently let go of their attachment to their mother body.
There are many traditional cultures who hold the placenta in high esteem. Maori people from New Zealand bury the placenta ritually on ancestral marae, and the Hmong, a hill tribe from South East Asia, some tribal aborigines and some species of monkey.
Lotus birth has been described as a logical extension of natural childbirth, which means we can re-claim the 3rd stage of labour, to honour the placenta, the baby’s first source of nourishment.
Advantages of a Lotus Birth:
Closure of all vessels DO NOT occur when the cord visibly stops pulsing. Umbilical cords can continue to pulse at the umbilicus, for much longer than the centre of the cord – can be as long as 2-3 hrs. Given that there is still blood flowing to the baby, many believe it is wise to wait until the baby is finished with it. Once the blood volume has reached an optimal level, for that particular baby, the rest of the cord vessels will close off.
How to do a Lotus Birth:
Dear Susan, I am writing to say thank you for your book. It changed my outlook on my pregnancy. Everything that happened at the birth that was good happened because I followed your book. I did it drug free, with a doula and had a perfect labour, attachment and early breastfeeding experience. So, thank you – for your wisdom and courage. I hope every pregnant couple gets to read your book. Katarina