In a lotus birth, the umbilical cord is left uncut and attached to the baby until it naturally separates. This can take from three to ten days after a baby is born.
Lotus birth 101
While modern birth is often tidied up and sanitised, a lotus birth makes no bones about the very raw nature of birth, in its quest to ensure a baby’s first days in the world are as gentle and comfortingly connected as possible. And when we say connected, we truly do mean connected – to their placenta – as you can see!
Why would you slow this part of birth down and not simply cut the cord in the minutes after birth? There are a number of gains to be had with this approach, according to proponents of lotus birth.
- Babies may be less likely to be passed around, meaning they’ll have a gentler first few days – and are also less exposed to possible infections carried by well-intentioned visitors.
- Keeping mother and baby in a sort of limbo-like state between birth and postpartum life may help women recuperate and babies get used to life on the outside in calmer conditions. It sets a tone for quite times.
- Some babies are more settled when they have their placenta (and mum) in close proximity.
While delayed cord clamping – where birth attendants wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it’s clamped – definitely has its benefits, there’s no medical evidence to back up the benefits of lotus birth, as yet.
Careful management is vital
In a lotus birth, rather than cutting the cord, birth attendants wait for it to stop pulsating. Once the cord is white, the placenta is carefully washed and allowed to dry. It’s put in a special bag, on a clean cloth or towel or into a vessel (sometimes specially crafted and sometimes simply a bowl!) The placenta can then be covered with herbs, salt and/or lavender oil to keep it in peak condition (and avoid any weird smells!)
The placenta is tended to each day with fresh salt and herbs to help preserve and dry it out. Allowing air to circulate around the placenta stops it from breaking down.
It’s important to note that there are risks associated with lotus birth, especially if the placenta is not properly cared for. Bacteria can grow within the placenta and cause an infection in the attached baby, so vigilance is very important if you’re considering this option. The tension between a baby’s future belly-button and the weighty placenta can also cause problems.
When all is well, the cord will separate naturally, often by the third or fourth day after birth.
The placenta can then be buried somewhere special and the baby is well and truly one of us!
The parents below did their research and then chose a lotus birth for their little ones. Scroll through to see the beautiful babies they created!
This gorgeous little boy Rain arrived Earthside a few days ago, and enjoyed a Lotus Birth (whereby you leave the placenta attached and the cord dries and separates naturally after a few days. It allows babe to receive their full supply of cord blood). Here it is covered in lavender blossoms. I had the pleasure of officiating his mum's blessingway ceremony last month. We came into each other's lives when she read my book The Birthkeepers. #lotusbirth #birthkeeper #writerslife #books #empowered #birth #mother @my_secret_bump Thank you for sharing! So proud of you and the journey you're on.
December 17, 2015. Our baby Anaia was born beautifully via home waterbirth. Gentler still is lotus birth: letting the placenta and umbilical cord detach naturally; not cutting immediately after birth. At the most fragile time, the beginning of life, we chose to give our baby the gift of patience. Here in the photo, we surrounded the placenta with a crystal whose color corresponds to each chakra. She is Anaia, whose name means 'God answers '. She already left us on earth, March 7, 2016, 2 and 1/2 months after her beautiful birth. The medical story was heart, but I know it is never just the medical story. It might take me a lifetime to unravel all this, but I trust and surrender to God. In Divine love, her and I remain. Jesus knows my pain. #amoveablestudio #studio_adellevictoria #tribedemama #girlgaze #lotusbirth #mommydiaries #cameramama #gentlebirth #homebirth #anaia_loves #thankyougod #thankyoujesus #empoweringwomen #birthing #yesyoucan #momtruth #heart #motheringyourheart #mayweallheal #whathealsyou #womenscircle #momtogs #childhoodunplugged #magicofchildhood #magicoflight #shootermag #kinfolk #friendsinperson
Such a gorgeous glowing new mama elated with the joy of welcoming her precious baby girl after having a powerful and beautiful lotus birth! ♡ Their amazing placenta was covered with lavender, Himalayan sea salt, and rosemary! ♡ – I couldn't be more honored to have been able to serve as this new families birth doula! What an amazing journey this family has been on and will continue on! #LotusBirth #TheLaborLadies #LaborWithJade #BirthDoula #PostpartumVisit
I love everything about this…dad in Star Wars shirt and rad tattoos carrying new babe still attached to the placenta!!!! #birthisrad #birthphotography #birthwithoutfear #documentaryphotography #raw #placenta #homebirth #midwives #doula #kelownaphotographer #vernonphotographer #dadlife #dontforgetdads #tattoo #tattoodad #starwars #lotusbirth #letthembelittle #clickinmoms @lensofourlives @dontforgetdads @carriagehousebirth @rockstarbirthmag @birthofamama @birthbecomesher @birth_photography @thebump @candidchildhood @childhoodunplugged @birthwithoutfear @birthbecomesher @stopcensoringmotherhood
When I was young and thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, all I wanted was to be a mom ❤ with 4 little ones now… I feel so complete. So whole. There is so much magic! 🌟 my heart is so full!! There's just no words to explain. I'm in bliss 💓 #momlife #momof4 #instamom #bliss #lotusbirth #placenta #breastfeeding #breastfed #dreamscometrue #complete #vegan #raw #emotion #grow #magic #pregnant #newborn #babyboy
**Alohaaaaaaa Beloved Ones!!!!** 12 days ago our love child Pueo joined the Earth Walk! Blissing out in our mama~papa~baby LOVE bubble!!✨💜✨Our little star shines umbilical cord fell off naturally on day five:: March 24th at 7:50am!✨💗✨ 🙌 We had been changing the herbs that dry out the placenta each day and navigating the baby-cord-placenta unit around the bed with us. 👶 ***Breastfeeding, napping, changing stinky buns, eating, drinking fresh coconut water and crying together while starring at the beauty of this little miracle. All the healing that has taken place from the birth of this new life:: rebirthing/healing my own birth and all of my ancestral lineage through the practice of gentle birthing. Creating peace & heaven on Earth. Such an honor. • • Why we chose a Lotus Birth::: “The placenta offers most of its encoding to the baby through the energetic transference of its cord as it dies. It’s legacy is its strength of generational attunement that weaves the generations together. When the cord remains intact and is not cut, there is a massive amount of information transferred to each baby that helps baby understand his/her place in the world family. By immediately cutting the cord, we continue in our lack of understanding our differences. The placentas continual flow of intelligence, both before in the form of sound, and after birth, in the form of energy, bathes the baby on the inside. It enters through the umbilical cord at the place of self, the place of knowing ‘who I am’ in the world. This is baby’s security. Lotus Birth respects baby’s own timing to disconnect from his/her placenta and be of this world. Honoring this timing allows the aura to stay strong and whole. When the cord remains intact, the baby holds the vibration given at birth and is not susceptible to this energetic depletion and it’s common baby illnesses. Baby’s adrenal glands are not stressed by the need to repair his/her energy field and his/her immunity continues to be strong. Baby’s vitality can be used instead to gain weight, thrive and discover the world.” ~Sacred Birthing: Birthing A New Humanity #sacredbirthing #lotusbirth #naturalbirth #homebirth #happinessis #heavenonearth