'Why anyone with an understanding of modern microbiology would promote leaving a newborn attached to dead, decomposing tissue that could be a [source of] infection is beyond me.'
Some mothers opt for natural births, others choose epidurals and then some decide to go the lotus birth route. The alternative birthing method has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years, however a number of doctors have recently pointed out the real dangers of lotus births.
Lotus births are a birthing practice in which a newborn baby’s umbilical cord is not cut, so they remain connected to the placenta until the cord falls away on its own. The cord can take between 3-10 days to naturally separate from the baby and some practitioners add herbs such as rosemary, lavender or sea salt to help preserve the placenta.
Followers of the practice believe it to be healthier and more spiritual than traditional birthing methods. Lotus birthing supposedly allows children to absorb more blood and nutrients from the placenta until it eventually dries out. It is also said to provide a gentler transition for the child from womb to world, as well as foster a closer relationship between mother and child.
While some research suggests that delaying cord cutting could make a difference to a baby’s overall health, these only stipulate a period of 30 to 120 seconds. Mervi Jokinen of the Royal College of Midwives agreed with slight delays in cord-cutting, however she raised one dangerous issue behind lotus birthing.
‘There is no evidence about the benefits of leaving the placenta and cord attached to the baby until it separates naturally. Ultimately, it is the woman’s decision but advice is required to prevent any infection developing,’ she said in a statement to the Huffington Post.
Across the pond in the USA, American OB/GYN Dr Jennifer Guntner cracked down more decisively to ATTN, ‘Why anyone with an understanding of modern microbiology would promote leaving a newborn attached to dead, decomposing tissue that could be a [source of] infection is beyond me. Bacteria grows very quickly in dead tissue and stagnant blood. Historically, [the placenta] has been discarded. I think if it had benefit, that wouldn’t have become the norm.’
That hasn’t stopped British mothers from choosing to forego the NHS and go with midwives or doulas, such as Hannah Winbolt-Robertson who spoke positively of her own experience. More dramatically, Adele-Allen in America forewent any assistance and said in a viral piece for xoJane, ‘I chose not to have any midwives or medical professionals present as I felt I could not trust them to respect my wishes and follow through my birth plan.’
Endangering the life of a newborn would be reason enough for any medical professional to scrap a birthing plan.