Lotus Birth – Keep the Umbilical Cord Longer For Healthy Baby

Lotus Birth - Keep the Umbilical Cord Longer Healthier for Babies
“Lotus birth is a call to return to the rhythms of nature, to witness the natural order and to the experience of not doing, just being.”  What is a lotus birth?  Traditionally, the practice of allowing the umbilical cord to remain intact until it stops pulsing and dries of its own accord, usually taking between 3-10 days after birth, is what is known as ‘lotus birth.’  Some cultures still practice lotus birth, and recently more and more people are starting to understand the benefits of keeping the umbilical cord longer for a healthier baby.

In the news lately has been a lot of chatter about iron levels being stronger in a newborn who has not had their umbilical cord cut so quickly after birth.  Due to the high demand of umbilical blood for stem cell banks, people have been cutting the cord so soon, that the benefits to newborns are being compromised for an as-yet unknown need.  In other words, negligence in the present moment for a ‘future’ need – is what is happening with all the rush to save the umbilical blood.

As more research is done, it is becoming apparent why nature does not halt the flow of blood to the baby after birth right away, and why it may be – not only good – but critical to the health of the baby to let nature unfold as it does.

Clamping and cutting the umbilical cord should be delayed for three minutes after the birth, particularly for pre-term infants…as the umbilical cord sends oxygen-rich blood to the lungs until breathing establishes…As long as the cord is unclamped, the average transfusion to the newborn is equivalent to 21% of the neonate’s final blood volume and three quarters of the transfusion occurs in the first minute after birth…There is now considerable evidence that early cord clamping does not benefit mothers or babies and may even be harmful…Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) have dropped the practice [of early cord clamping] from their guidelines.

Even after the placenta is born, equilibration continues by slight adjustments that occur via reflex action of the intra-abdominal portions of the vessels, eliminating the development of excessive central nervous pressure and thus allowing the baby’s system to gradually integrate the additional blood volume…Allowing physiologic equilibration to take place as it naturally occurs is the most gentle option as far as normal neonatal transition is concerned.

An old Japanese custom is the use of a Kotobuki Bako – or umbilical chord box.  This box is made special and a small doll in a kimono inside is meant to keep the umbilical cord safe while it is still attached to the infant.  Apparently the Japanese have been privy to the benefits of delayed umbilical cutting.  Studies say that not only will a baby with delayed severing of the umbilical cord have better iron count and higher hemoglobin levels, but mothers were less likely to hemorrhage after birth when left attached.

Apparently the young liver of an infant is flooded with toxins at birth – especially if there are any drugs administered during labor – which the placenta would normally take care of.  Those who have their cords immediately cut will have to enter life with an unnecessary toxic burden that could have been prevented.

Many reactions of infants to sudden cutting of the cord have been recording including: shudders, screaming, whimpering, gasping for air – according to sources and those who have experienced lotus births, none of these responses are ‘normal’ for a birthing baby and always correlate with the severing of the connecting cord between them and their home of the previous 9 months.

Keeping the placenta attached until it naturally releases is beneficial for the mother and family as well.  It helps slow every one down to appreciate and really take in the magnificent event that has just taken place.  There is a lot less likelihood that anyone is taking the baby out on an ‘adventure’ with the placenta in tow.  Birthing a new life is a major life-transition for everyone involved.  Keeping the placenta attached can suggest the much needed integration period for taking on this grand event as the new ‘norm.’

Whether a mother and father choose to simply delay the cutting of the umbilical cord for at least several minutes after birth, or to go forward and experience a true ‘lotus birth’, it is clear that avoiding instant cord detachment is much healthier for a new baby and their mother.  As the medical world finds more and more reasons to delay cutting, it may be wise to return to the wisdom of the ancients and follow the intelligent design of the bodies doing the birthing.

Written by: Stasia Bliss

Sources: Child Birth with Love; CBS news; NY times; Lotusbirth.net; SacredBirthing.com; Gate to Japan; CBC Hamilton

2 Responses to "Lotus Birth – Keep the Umbilical Cord Longer For Healthy Baby"

  1. Karyn patterson   July 17, 2013 at 7:01 am

    A beautiful article-thankyou for helping put out this vital information. My third-born child was a lotus birth and what made it even more remarkable than our previous two homebirths was simply that, without the ‘doing and busyness’ around early cord cutting, the space afforded an even more precious and deeper celebration of this new life, new Mum, new Dad, new sibling. THAT was truly being born. And I thank my wonderful teacher, Shivam Rachana.


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